Here, a deep sombre piece, which brings to mind a huge complaint/constraint; how to read great works in a foreign tongue? Take your pick or speak forth your Deutsche…
Translated by Daniel K. Statnekov
His gaze, blunted
by the unnumbered procession
of iron bars, uncounted
as his softly padded steps.
Smooth motion of blood and sinew
turning in its own, small circle
prescribed by bars and walls
…and skin, confined.
Suddenly, without warning,
a flash of light and image
pierces the caged brain,
and passing through its beating heart
to stillness finds its way.
Translated by D.C. Barranco, echt mench
From seeing only bars, his seeing is exhausted.
It holds nothing, nothing more.
To him, the world is bars,
100,000 bars, and behind the bars, nothing.
The lithe swinging of his rhythmic, easy stride
circles an inner hub – a dance of energy,
‘round a central point.
Inside, a gigantic Will stands stunned and numb.
Only, at times, the curtains rise.
Silently, a vision enters,
slips though the focused silence of his shoulders,
reaches his heart,
Translated by Ronnie Pontiac
His sight, passing by the bars,
exhausted, sees nothing else.
For him there are a thousand bars,
a thousand bars, and beyond them no world.
His limber lope and powerful pace
ever turning in the smallest circle
dance strength around a center
where a great will stands numb.
Sometimes the veil of his pupil parts
silently an image goes in
past the tense poise of still limbs
only to die in his heart.
Translated by Doug Sutton
His glance has become so weary from pacing
Along the bars that it can hold no more.
It seems like a thousand bars encasing
Him, and beyond the thousand bars, no world.
The soft tread of steps strong and supple
Does in the tiniest of circles revolve,
It is like of dance of force around a middle,
In which, benumbed, there stands a great resolve.
Only sometimes like a curtain does the pupil
Silently slide open - then an image gains entry,
passes through members tensely still -
and in the heart, ceases to be.
Translated by Leonard Cottrell
The weary passage of these bars
has made his gaze an empty stare:
as if the bars were all there are
and that behind them nothing’s there.
Strong and supple strides around
and back to their beginning come.
A swirling play of power surrounds
a noble will that stands there numb.
Just at times the curtain parts
quietly inside his eyes.
Along a nerve, awareness darts -
arriving in his heart, it dies.
Translated by J.B. Leishman
His gaze those bars keep passing is so misted
with tiredness, it can take in nothing more.
He feels as though a thousand bars existed,
and no more world beyond them than before.
Those supply-powerful paddings, turning there
in the tiniest of circles, well might be
the dance of forces round a center where
some mighty will stands paralyticly.
Just now and then the pupil’s noiseless shutter
is lifted — then an image will indart,
down through the limbs’ intensive stillness flutter
and end its being in the heart.
Translated by Gerald Duffy
The pacing past the bars, the steady stare
A tiredness grown so nothing holds him here
Of a thousand iron bars he seems aware
A thousand bars, no world beyond this sphere.
With supple strength, with soft and gentle mode
He turns in smallest circles about his flank
It’s like a dance of power around a node
His great volition standing stunned and blank.
Sometimes his eyelids rise so he can sense
A picture enter in the moment’s part
Descend through limbs of sinew, silent, tense
And thinning, fading, cease within his heart.
September 15, 2006
Translated by Maren Mudaly
His gaze is from the passing of the bars
grown so tired that nothing it can hold
to him it’s as if there’s bars like stars
and behind the bars no life to mold
His soft stride, smooth strong paws lie
placed in smallest circles as if bond by chains
is like a dance of strength around a bull’s eye
where tranquilized a grand will remains
Only sometimes lifts the veil over the eye’s lens
silently out of way – Then an image passes through
rushes through the nerves alerted waiting sense
dies in the heart for there’s nothing possible to do
Translation by Winslow Shea
His gaze, so worn with passing through the bars,
holds nothing now, not even its own stare.
There is, it seems to him, a thousand bars,
and past the thousand bars, no world out there.
The soft padding of his strong paws on the floor,
Revolving in the smallest ring of all,
is like a dance of power round a core
in which a mighty will stands stunned, in stall.
Sometimes the shutter of his pupil parts
without a sound — and then an image will
slip through the silent tension of the limbs
until, stopped in the heart, it’s still.
Translation by A. S. Kline, copyright 2004
His gaze is so wearied from the bars
Passing by, that it can hold no more.
It’s as if a thousand bars were given him:
And behind the thousand bars, no world.
The soft pace of his powerful, supple stride,
That draws him round in tightened circles,
Is like the dance of force about a centre,
In which a greater will stands paralysed.
Only, at times, the curtain of his pupils
Silently rises – Then an image enters,
Rushes through his tense, arrested limbs,
And echoing, inside his heart, is gone.
Translated by Klaus J. Peter
Its gaze grown tired from passing
of the bars can’t hold a thing.
It feels as if there were a thousand bars
and behind these bars no world.
The soft stride of smooth strong steps
rotates in smallest circles
is like a dance of power around a mid
in which benumbed a great will rests.
Only sometimes the curtain of the pupil
raises silently and lets an image enter
passes through the silence of his tense limbs
and in his heart it seizes to exist.
Translated by Edward Snow
His gaze has from the pasing of the bars
grown so tired, that it holds nothing anymore.
It seems to him there are a thousand bars
and behind a thousand bars no world.
The supple pace of powerful soft strides,
turning in the very smallest circle,
is like a dance of strength around a center
in which a great will stands numbed.
Only sometimes the curtain of the pupils
soundlessly slides up —. Then an image enters,
glides through the limbs’ taut stillness,
dives into the heart and dies.
Translated by Robert Spielman
His gaze, from the constantly passing bars,
Has grown so weary that it can hold no more.
To him it is as if there are a thousand bars,
And beyond those thousand bars, no world.
The gentle slink of his powerful, supple stride,
Turning in on itself in ever-smaller circles,
Is as a ritual dance of strength around a center
In which a great will stands paralyzed.
Occasionally the curtain of his pupils
Will silently rise, admitting an image.
Passing through the tense stillness of his limbs,
It plunges into his heart and is no more.
Translated by A.L. Breitling
His concept is overwhelmed by bars
of so much constancy that ennui embraces emptiness.
For him there are a thousand bars,
and beyond the thousand bars, oblivion.
His gait belies a crueler walk of prisoned spirit,
pacing in a gyre the cross of sacrifice;
it is a dance which finds it axis at the center
of a greater loss of will, not recalcitrance.
Only incidentally does the nictitation fail;
and in that moment, with victim seen,
he goes again to cunning stillness;
then from his being - to heart - to gone.
Translated by Albert Ernest Flemming
His tired gaze—from passing endless bars—
has turned into a vacant stare which nothing holds.
To him there seem to be a thousand bars,
and out beyond these bars exists no world.
His supple gait, the smoothness of strong strides
that gently turn in ever smaller circles
perform a dance of strength, centered deep within
a will, stunned, but untamed, indomitable.
But sometimes the curtains of his eyelids part,
the pupils of his eyes dilate as images
of past encounters enter while through his limbs
a tension strains in silence
only to cease to be, to die within his heart.
Translation by Peter J. Seng
His Vision from the Passing by of bars
Has grown so tired that it holds nothing more.
It seems to him there are a thousand bars,
And out beyond those thousand bars no world.
His supple lope and flexibly strong strides,
That always in the smallest circle turn,
Are like a dance of strength around a middle
In which, benumbed, a great will stands.
Just sometimes, does the veil upon his eye
Silently rise; then goes an image in,
Goes through the nervous poise of his still limbs,
And ceases, in his heart, to be.
The following translation is by Guntram Deichsel:
His eyes became from passing bars
so weary, that they hold no sight.
He feels there were a thousand bars,
behind the thousand bars no light.
The soft gait of the lithe strong pace
in cramped circles on a narrow spot
is like a dance of force around a place
in which a dazed great will does moan its lot.
At times, the curtain of his vision
Silently slides aside -. An image enters then,
goes through the members’ quiet tension,
ceasing existence deep in his heart’s den.
English ©: Guntram Deichsel, Biberach on the Riss, Germany
Nov1997 / re-done Mar 1999
Guntram is a mathematician and physicsist by education with a Ph.D. in informatics. He had been lecturing biomathematics in the academic setting until he became a biometrician in the pharmaceutical industry where he is involved in the clinical development of new drugs, presently in cancer research. Guntram translates poems as a way to hone his skills in writing technical reports in English. You can find his translation of Rilke’s Autumn Day HERE. You can also find a poem that Guntram wrote himself HERE.
The following translation is by Bart Odom:
From going through the bars, his gaze has become so exhausted
that it holds nothing anymore.
To him it is as if there are a thousand bars,
and beyond the thousand bars, no world.
The easy swinging of that lithe, potent stride,
which turns in on itself in ever-smaller circles,
is like a dance of power around a center
in which a great will stands benumbed.
Only at times the curtain of the pupils
rises silently—then an image goes in,
goes though the tightened stillness of the limbs,
enters the heart and is no more.
The following translation is by Stephen Mitchell:
His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
has grown so weary that it cannot hold anything else.
It seems to him there are a thousand bars;
and behind the bars, no world.
As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.
Only at times, the curtain of the pupils lifts, quietly—.
An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.
The following translation is by Tatyana Dali:
A thousand bars surround and charm him there,
Flash on, obscure, and hide the world beyond.
His gaze grown worn to just a bare stare,
So weary, it no longer holds a bond.
Soft paws, strong stride, his muscles svelte and supple,
the circles tighten, taut steps like a drill.
At center cage - a dance of strength. Uncoupled,
as in a trance, there stands a mighty will.
Sometimes, eye curtain lifts, the eye is willing,
the pupil dilates and an image rushes in.
It travels throughout the taunted body’s stillness
to thrill the heart and die within.
The following translation is by Walter Arndt:
His gaze has been so worn by the procession
Of bars that it no longer makes a bond.
Around, a thousand bars seem to be flashing,
And in their flashing show no world beyond.
The lissom steps which round out and re-enter
That tightest circuit of their turning drill
Are like a dance of strength about a center
Wherein there stands benumbed a mighty will.
Only from time to time the pupil’s shutter
Will draw apart: an image enters then,
To travel through the tautened body’s utter
Stillness—and in the heart to end.
The following translation is by C.F. MacIntyre:
His sight from ever gazing through the bars
has grown so blunt that it sees nothing more.
It seems to him that thousands of bars are
before him, and behind them nothing merely.
The easy motion of his supple stride,
which turns about the very smallest circle,
is like a dance of strength about a center
in which a mighty will stands stupefied.
Only sometimes when the pupil’s film
soundlessly opens ….then one image fills
and glides through the quiet tension of the limbs
into the heart and ceases and is still.