Autumn Day


Lord: it is time. The summer was immense.
Stretch out your shadow on the sundial's face,
and on the meadows let the winds go loose.

Command the last fruits to be full in time;
grant them even two more southerly days,
press them toward fulfillment soon and chase
the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

Whoever has no house now, will build none.
Who is alone now, will stay long alone,
will lie awake, read, get long letters written,
and through the streets that follow up and down
will wander restless, when the leaves are driven.


                    German; trans. John Felstiner


Ranier Maria Rilke, German, trans. John Felstiner, Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew, Yale University Press, 1995.