Poetry in Translation 1: Petite Cascade


Petite Cascade

Nymphe, se revêtant toujours
de ce qui la dénude,
que ton corps s’exalte pour
l’onde ronde et rude.

Sans repos tu changes d’habit,
même de chevelure;
derrière tant de fuite, ta vie
reste présence pure.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Petite Cascade1

Nymph, always dressing again
in those garments newly shed,
how your body exalts itself
to a wave, rough and round.

Restlessly you change your clothes,
even the tumble of your hair;
trailing an excess of escapes, your life
remains pure presence.

tr. Jonathan Van Matre


  1. I resist the temptation to translate just for the sake of having done something.

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