Rilke – Duino Elegies 4, 7, 9, translated by Allan Cooper


Rilke at the balcony on Muzot, 1923. (Courtesy: Schweizerisches Literaturarchiv, SLA, Bern)

These are translations by Allan Cooper of the 4th, 7th, and 9th of Rilke’s Duino Elegies. They are intensely moving.

Allan Cooper lives in Alma, New Brunswick. I have stayed, and written, there often. In Spanish, the word alma usually means soul.


They appear in the exceptional literary site, Numéro Cinq, which is the creation of Douglas Glover, Canadian novelist, now living in Vermont, and winner of a Governor-General’s Award for Fiction.

Angel, don’t think
I’m wooing you, and even if I were, you wouldn’t appear. For my
call is always filled with leaving, and you couldn’t move against
the strength of that current. My call is like an arm stretched out
to hold you back. And my open hand, as if reaching up
to grasp something, defending and warning
at the same time, is something
you will never understand.

– the conclusion of the 7th Elegy




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