Autumn: Two Poems

Autumn Pond

Autumn Day – Reiner Maria Rilke

Lord, it is time.
The summer was immense.
Now let fall your shadow on the sundials,
and across the fields let loose the winds.
Command the last fruits now to ripen:
give them two more warm days from the south,
drive them to completion and chase
the final sweetness into the heavy wine.

Who has no house will not build now.
Who is alone, alone will stay,
will wake and read, write long letters
and in the avenues wander restless
here and there, where the leaves are drifting.

Translated by Tilo Ulbricht

Song of the Unborn

Leafsmoke and drifting rain:
Who has no house, will not build now;
Who is alone, alone shall stay,
Sleep, wake, write long letters
And when the aimless leaves are blown,
Pause on the bridge, and wander restless
Across the winter into Spring.

Across the winter into Spring
How shall we live?
Lovers beneath the willows cry
Farewell: sunlight slipping
Through leaves and fingers,
Flashed away on rippled water;
The banks glided. A fish leapt,
Turning silver out of time.

Sometimes I awake and know
That I am here, and almost
The reins seem in my grasp,
But mostly I sleepwalk my days
Too much in time, not hearing
Red creepers, conkers, dahlias singing,
But taken and turned, by
A letter, a smile, an invitation
Received or withheld, and feeling:
It rains for me.
I am not here,
But elsewhere, or undiscovered;
But seeing how I am, I yet
Make no move
Across the winter into Spring

Tilo Ulbricht