Friday, 29 July 2016

OF THE MARRIAGE AT CANA by Rainer Maria Rilke.

Could she be anything but very proud
of him who made the plainest things become
lovely? And was not the high, large accustomed
night as though beside itself when he appeared?

Did not his having lost himself once, also
add unbelievably to his renown?
And did the wisest not change mouth into
ears, to hear him? Had not the house grown

new, at his voice? Ah, surely in those days
she had restrained herself a hundred times
from beaming forth with her delight in him.
And so she followed after him, amazed.

But there on that day at the wedding feast
when, unexpectedly, more wine was needed,
she looked, and begged a gesture at the least
and did not understand when he protested.

Then he did it. And she saw much later
how she had thrust him then upon his way.
Now he'd become a real miracle-maker,
and in this act unalterably there lay

the sacrifice. Yes, written and decreed.
Then on that day, was it prepared already?
She; it was she had driven on the deed
in the blindness of her vanity.

At table, heaped with vegetables and fruits,
she shared the joy, and never understood
that the water from her own tear-ducts,
with this wine, had been transformed to blood.

Translated from German by Stephen Spender

Taken from the Book: The Life of the Virgin Mary [Das Marien-Laben] by Rainer Maria Rilke, Vision Press Limited.

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