Sein Blick ist vomVorübergehn der Stäbe
so müd geworden, daß er nichts mehr hält.
Ihm ist, als ob es tausend Stäbe gäbe
und hinter tausend Stäben keine Welt.
Der weiche Gang geschmeidig starker Schritte,
der sich im allerkleinsten Kreise dreht,
ist wie ein Tanz von Kraft um eine Mitte,
in der betäubt ein großer Wille steht.
Nur manchmal schiebt der Vorhang der Pupille
sich lautlos auf — dann geht ein
geht durch der Glieder angespannte Stille
und hört im Herzen auf zu sein.
|Poem by Rainer Maria Rilke
His sight from ever gazing through the bars
has grown so blunt that it sees nothing
It seems to him that thousand of bars are
before him, and behind him nothing merely.
The easy motion of his supple stride,
which turns about the very smallest circle,
is like a dance of strength about a center
in which a will stands stupefied.
Only sometimes when the pupil’s film
soundlessly opens — then one image
and glides through the quiet tension of
into the heart — and ceases and is
|Translation by C. F. MacIntyre
His gaze those bars keep passing is so misted
with tiredness, it can take in nothing more.
He feels as though a thousand bars existed,
and no more world beyond them before.
Those supply-powerful paddings, turning
in the tiniest of circles, well might be
the dance of forces round a center where
some mighty will stands paralyticly.
Just now and then the pupil’s noiseless
is lifted — then an image will indart,
down through the limbs’ intensive
and end its being in the heart.
|Translation by J. B. Leishman
His gaze has been so worn by the procession
Of bars that it no longer makes a bond.
Around, a thousand bars seem to be flashing,
And in their flashing show no world beyond.
The lissome steps which round out and re-enter
That tightest circuit of their turning drill
Are like a dance of strength about a center
Wherein there stands benumbed a mighty will.
Only from time to time the pupil’s
Will draw apart — an image enters
To travel through the tautened body’s
Stillness — and in the heart end.
|Translation by Walter Arndt
From seeing the bars, his seeing is so exhausted
that it no longer holds anything anymore.
To him the world is bars, a hundred thousand
bars, and behind the bars, nothing.
The lithe swinging of that rhythmical easy
which circles down to the tiniest hub
is like a dance of energy around a point
in which a great will stands stunned and
Only at times the curtains of the pupil rise
without a sound — then a shape enters,
slips through the tightened silence of the
reaches the heart, and dies.
|Translation by Robert Bly
His vision, from the constantly passing
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars, and behind the bars, no
As he paces in cramped circles, over and
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.
Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly - an image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested
plunges into the heart and is gone.
|Translation by Stephen Mitchell
The pacing past the bars, the steady stare
A tiredness grown so nothing holds him here
Of a thousand iron bars he seems aware
A thousand bars, no world beyond this sphere.
With supple strength, with soft and gentle
He turns in smallest circles about his flank
It's like a dance of power around a node
His great volition standing stunned and
Sometimes his eyelids rise so he can sense
A picture enter in the moment's part
Descend through limbs of sinew, silent,
And thinning, fading, cease within his heart.
|Translation by Gerald Duffy