Rilke: After the Fire (poem)

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Rilke: After The Fire is a poem from Seamus Heaney's 2006 collection District and Circle.[1] The poem is a translation of Rainer Maria Rilke's "Die Brandstätte", from the 1908 edition of Neue Gedichte.[2] It recounts the morning after a fire which has consumed a home, leaving "emptiness behind / Scorched linden trees". When "the son of the place" appears on the scene, he uses a stick to drag "an out-of-shape old can or kettle" from the wreckage, and attempts to tell the others present about his loss. The poem concludes with his realising that "he [is] changed: a foreigner among them". There is one other Rilke translation in District and Circle called "Rilke: The Apple Orchard".

References[edit]

  1. ^ The poem is set on the 2013-2014 International A-level syllabus for Literature in English by the Cambridge International Examinations board.
  2. ^ Stephen Cohn adopts the same English title as Heaney in his translation of the poem. See: Rilke, Rainer Maria. Neue Gedichte / New Poems. Manchester: Carcanet, 1992, p199 (ISBN 978-1857547702). Others, such as Stanley Appelbaum, choose a title which is closer to the original German. See "The Scene of the Fire" in: Rilke, Rainer Maria. Ausgewählte Gedichte / Selected Poems. New York: Dover, 2011, p121-23. (ISBN 978-0486478616)

External links[edit]

  • Paul Hurt discusses Heaney's Rilke translations and compares them with his own.
  • Alan Tucker's translation of "Die Brandstätte".