Saturday, May 5, 2018

three poems from Rilke's French

Rilke on the balcony at Muzot, 1923

three poems at Belle Ombre

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Albert Dreux: Refinement

Amore e Psiche
Antonio Canova, 1793


When, the senses quelled and eyes half-closed,
We feel, beloved, a gentle, animal
Calm descend, a snow of ash, invincible
On the bright, impassioned fire that blazed,

We are content. Without regret or trepidation
The heart drowses peacefully; thoughtless,
We dream blurred dreams of expended excess
And drift toward a vague oblivion.

--- But when we have resisted such frenzies
And have held back from quaffing to its lees
The entire, enervating cup of pleasure,

What joy to have still the spur of longing
And to suffer, forever, like moths thronging
Our darkness, all the gyring birds of desire.

Albert Dreux
(my translation)


Quand, les sens apaisés et les yeux demi-clos,
Nous sentons, ô très chère, invincible descendre
Le beau calme animal neigeant comme une cendre
Sur le feu clair, ardent, qui flamboyait tantôt,

On est heureux! Le cœur s’endort, tout doucement,
Sans regret, sans frisson; et l’âme sans pensée,
On songe vaguement aux forces dépensées,
Et l’on flotte en un vague anéantissement.

Mais, lorsque nous avons refusé la folie
Et que nous n’avons pas voulu jusqu’à la lie
Boire la coupe entière et fade du plaisir,

Quel bonheur de garder l’aiguillon dans nos veines
Et de sentir toujours, comme un vol de phalène,
Planer autour de nous les oiseaux du désir.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Orphan Wind, from Rilke's French

a short poem from Rilke's French and a "translator's note" on its background at

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Ontario, a poem

Misery Bay, 2016

I have a new poem at

Friday, September 1, 2017

three poems translated from rilke's french

Rainer Maria Rilke (left) and Paul Valéry, at Anthy, Switzerland, in September, 1926. Valéry was, perhaps, the living poet whom Rilke most admired. Rilke had published a superb translation of "Le Cimetière marin" in 1921, followed by German renderings of other works by Valéry, enough for a volume, Paul Valéry: Gedichte, which appeared the year before this photograph was taken. Valéry could not read German and had no experience of Rilke's German poems in their original language, but he expressed admiration for the poems in French that Rilke was writing feverishly during these years and had published several of them in his magazine, Commerce. The two poets look happy, which is always rare enough in photographs of Rilke, and which might serve as an indication of his pleasure in meeting Valéry, especially considering that Rilke was already suffering quite badly from leukemia. He died in December of this same year.

My translations of three of Rilke's French poems are online today at

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Day After We Sold the World

Hathaway Preserve at Ross Run, 2 June 2017

I have a poem today at the blog of The Dark Mountain Project

Monday, June 5, 2017