Saturday, 6 September 2014

animals see, people see

This is an attempt at illustrating the opening lines of Rainer Maria Rilke's long poem, "The Eighth Elegy." After Stephen Mitchell's translation into English is the original German.

With all its eyes the natural world looks out
into the Open. Only our eyes are turned
backward, and surround plant, animal, child
like traps, as they emerge into their freedom.
We know what is really out there only from
the animal's gaze; for we take the very young
child and force it around, so that it sees
objects—not the Open, which is so
deep in animals' faces. Free from death.
We, only, can see death; the free animal
has its decline in back of it, forever,
and God in front, and when it moves, it moves
already in eternity, like a fountain.

Mit allen Augen sieht die Kreatur
das Offene. Nur unsre Augen sind
wie umgekehrt und ganz um sie gestellt
als Fallen, rings um ihren freien Ausgang.
Was draußen ist, wir wissens aus des Tiers
Antlitz allein; denn schon das frühe Kind
wenden wir um und zwingens, daß es rückwärts
Gestaltung sehe, nich das Offne, das
im Tiergesicht so tief ist. Frei von Tod.
Ihn sehen wir allein; das freie Tier
hat seinen Untergang stets hinter sich
und vor sich Gott, und wenn es geht, so gehts
in Ewigkeit, so wie die Brunnen gehen.


  1. Very very beautiful Fi, not only the poem of Rilke (both in English and in German) but the way you handled this collage, the diptych you made of it.... the walking in open air, the look on the faces of both the animals and the girl... very, very beautiful!

  2. ...and the cutest little ferenc fox! I think Rilke would approve, Fi.

    1. Thanks! Thanks to both of you... here's another ferenc fox. =smile=

  3. You turned the world upside down. Rilke would have loved this.