Faded One by Rainer Maria Rilke

translated by Len Krisak (May 2014)

 

As if she had just died: she wears—

that lightly—both her shawl and gloves.

A fragrance from her chest of drawers

has driven out the scent she loves

 

and knew herself by, long ago.

She asks no more who she might be

(a distant relative). As though

bemused, she wanders aimlessly,

 

tidying up the timorous room                                            

she prettifies and shows such care,

just on the chance that all this time,                     

that same young girl’s still living there.

 

_____________________


Len Krisak has published in The London Magazine, The Oxonian Review, PN Review, Standpoint, Agni, The Antioch Review, The Sewanee Review, The Hudson ReviewThe Dark Horse, Agenda, The Hopkins ReviewCommonweal, Literary Imagination, The Oxford Book of Poems on Classical Mythology, and others. His latest book is Virgil’s Eclogues, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010. Forthcoming: The Carmina of Catullus, Carcanet Press, 2015, Afterimage, Measure Press, 2014, Rilke: New Poems, Boydell & Brewer, 2015 and Ovid: The Amores and The Ars Amatoria, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014.

 

 

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