For various reasons, I have had no time for my study of Spanish poetry. I wanted to resume doing the translations again. But when I tried to do so, I had first to find the various books of Spanish poem collections. But there, amongst the pile of book was one by Rainer Maria Rilke (萊納·瑪利亞·里爾克), a German romantic poet. I bought this book in my recent trip to America when I was looking for Spanish poetry. But there was no special section on just Spanish poetry alone. As I was looking, my eyes fell on two by Rainer Maria Rilke. I was curious, I opened them. I turned the pages of one of them at random and came upon some of the poems. I read them in front of the shelf. I liked them. As they are not particularly expensive, I bought both of them,. On of them was written in his original German, the other in French and both with English translations. Last night, they hit my eyes again, by another accident. It is as if Rainer Maria Rilke were beckoning to me, winking at me to open his books! So instead of my doing my Spanish poetry translation, as I originally intended, you now have one from Germany. There is a simplicity about his poem that I like. Here it is:
Autumn Herbst 秋
The leaves are falling, falling as from afar Die Blätter fallen, fallen wie von weit, 葉子墮下，葉子墮下在遠方
withering in the heavenly gardens far als welten in den Himmeln ferne Gärten; 在遠方天圍中枯萎
they fall with denying gest sie fallen mit verneinender Gebärde. 他們在抗議中墮下
And in the nights falls the Earth's weight Und den Nächten fãllt die schwerde Erde 夜裡大地之重
from all the stars in solitude. aus allen Sternen in die Einsamkeit 在孤單中從星際墮下
We are all falling. This hand is falling. Wir alle fallen. Diese Hand da fällt. 我們正墮下，這手正墮下
And look at the other one : it is in all. Und sieh dir andre an: es ist in allen. 看看另一隻：它在一切中
And yet there's One who holds the falling Und doch ist Einer, welcher dieses Fallen 而仍有一 個，他接着這下墮i
infinite gentle in his hands stops.. unendlich sanft in seinen Händen hält. 無比輕柔在其手中停下來。
I didn't like the translation that I saw and have modified it according to my knowledge of German which I learned many many years ago. Perhaps my friend Peter can help.
Perhaps, the falling of the leaves reminds the poet that not only are the leaves falling, but everything else too. He feels that even his own hands, perhaps all wrinkled with vericose veins, like withered leaves, are falling too but in a different sense. In time, not only in space. The idea of space is connected to the idea of time by the image of the night. To him the night is falling too, with the weight of the whole earth, down the passage of time. But he hopes that there may be some one, perhaps God, who will receive them all gently and stops the univesal falling. Only God will be that gentle, with the infinite gentleness which he alone is capable of.