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Multiple poetry translations series

While I have translations on my mind, within is a table containing the original and three translations of the poem "Der Schwan" by Rainer Maria Rilke.

Der Schwan

Rainer Maria Rilke

The Swan

translated by Joanna Macy & Anita Barrows

The Swan

translated by Cliff Crego

The Swan

translated by Stephen Mitchell

Diese Mühsahl, durch noch Ungetanes

This laboring of ours with all that remains undone,

This difficult living, heavy and as if all tied up,

The labouring through what is still undone,

schwer und wie gebunden hinzugehn,

as if still bound to it,

moving through that which has been left undone,

as though, legs bound, we hobbled along the way,

gleicht dem ungeschaffnen Gang des Schwanes.

is like the lumbering gait of the swan.

is like the not-quite-finished walk of the swan.

is like the awkward walking of the swan.

Und das Sterben, dieses Nichtmehrfassen

And then our dying—releasing ourselves

And dying, this slipping away from

And dying – to let go, no longer feel

jenes Grunds, auf dem wir täglich stehn,

from the very ground on which we stood—

the ground upon which we stand every day,

the solid ground we stand on every day

seinem ängstlichen Sich-Niederlassen - :

is like the way he hesitantly lowers himself

is his anxious letting himself fall—:

is like his anxious letting himself fall

in die Wasser, die ihn sanft empfangen

into the water. It gently receives him,

into the waters, which receive him gladly

into the water, which receives him gently

und die sich, wie glücklich und vergangen,

and, gladly yielding, flows back beneath him,

and which, as if happily already gone by,

and which, as though with reverence and joy,

unter ihm zurückziehn, Flut um Flut;

as wave follows wave,

draw back under him, wave after wave;

draws back past him in streams on either side;

während er unendlich still und sicher

while he, now wholly serene and sure,

while the swan, infinitely calm and self-assured,

while, infinitely silent and aware,

immer mündiger und königlicher

with regal composure,

opener and more magnificent

in his full majesty and ever more

und gelassener zu ziehn geruht.

allows himself to glide.

and more serene, allows himself to be drawn on.

indifferent, he condescends to glide.

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