You don’t have to understand life

It is a special treat to listen to Rilke’s words. This is from a reading of the great Viennese actor Oskar Werner.

Du musst das Leben nicht verstehen

Du musst das Leben nicht verstehen,
dann wird es werden wie ein Fest.
Und lass dir jeden Tag geschehen
so wie ein Kind im Weitergehen von jedem Wehen
sich viele Blüten schenken lässt.
Sie aufzusammeln und zu sparen,
das kommt dem Kind nicht in den Sinn.
Es löst sie leise aus den Haaren,
drin sie so gern gefangen waren,
und hält den lieben jungen Jahren
nach neuen seine Hände hin.
Rainer Maria Rilke (1898)
You don’t have to understand Life’s nature

You don’t have to understand Life’s nature,
then it becomes a grand affair.
Let every day just of itself occur
like a child walks away from every hurt
and happens upon the gift of many flowers.
To collect and the blossoms spare,
that never enters the child’s mind.
She gently unties them from her hair,
where they were kept captive with such delight,
and the hands of the loving, youthful years
reach out to embrace the new.
(tr. Cliff Crego)

About Michaela

I am a wanderer and a wonderer, like you are. I love our journey and to walk in the company of friends – to learn, experience, share, laugh, cry and above all I simply love this marvelous, magical, mysterious life. I have no plan (cannot believe I am saying this) and my only intention is to be truthful to myself and others.
This entry was posted in Books & Poetry, Rilke's Reality and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to You don’t have to understand life

  1. I’m German, but I’m always amazed how reading your favorite poet in another language can suddenly reveal new layers, new fragrances, even much more depth.

    • Michaela says:

      …I know what you mean. As a matter of fact, I don’t think Rilke can be translated accurately into mono-syllabic English. But his verses can be very well adapted.

      Steven Mitchells is actually doing a great job, as well as others.

  2. Alex says:

    Learn German, read Rilke in original, he deserves it.

  3. @Klaus Kommoss – wie sarkastisch ist der Kommentar vom Juni 2011? “von jedem Wehen” —> “walks away from every hurt” ?

    for those not (yet) reading German – the translation makes a major mistake here: the topic is that every breeze presents the child with new flowers / petals … Nobody gets hurt here …

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