Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Contre qui, Rose?

I have a few minutes to kill while I wait. I think this is the most beautiful poem ever written and I have thought so for some time. I try to avoid superlatives, but I think I should accept them when they have persisted for over a decade.

Contre qui, rose,
avez-vous adopté
ces épines?
Votre joie trop fine
vous a-t-elle forcée
de devenir cette chose armée?

Mais de qui vous protège
cette arme exagérée?
Combien d'ennemis vous ai-je
enlevés
qui ne la craignaient point?
Au contraire, d'été en automne,
vous blessez les soins
qu'on vous donne.

Here is an English translation of it that I have kind of picked from several different translations, parts of which I think capture it better than others. Oh, that is so arrogant.

Against whom, rose,
have you assumed
these thorns?
Is it your too fragile joy
that has forced you
to now become this arméd thing?

And from whom does it protect you,
this exaggerated defense?
How many enemies have I lifted from you
that did not fear it at all?
On the contrary, from Summer to Autumn
you wound the affection that is given you.

Rilke wrote a lot about solitude and our need to have a lack of it. Solitude is very good and I think necessary sometimes, but too much can be bad. Sometimes I wonder if it is addicting.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

that is so beautiful.