Friday, October 9, 2009

Poetry Friday: Rilke's Autumn Day

Today's Poetry Friday post is courtesy of my agent, Tina Wexler. Not only does she do all the Super Agent stuff, like sell my books, read my drivel and suggest ways to make it not drivel, make me laugh, and ask after my family, she also has an MFA in Poetry. It's one of the reasons I chose her to represent me. Not to sell my poetry, but to have someone with a poetry-loving ear close by.

Yesterday, she sent me a notice from Shelf Awareness about a new North Point Press book of Rilke poems, a bilingual collection titled simply The Poetry of Rilke.  This was the accompanying poem, from the book:

Autumn Day
by Rainer Maria Rilke,
translated by Edward Snow

Lord: it is time. Your summer was superb.
Lay your shadows on the sundials,
and in the meadows let the winds go free.

Command the last fruits to be full;
give them only two more southern days,
urge them on to completion and chase
the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

Whoever has no house will never build one now.
Whoever is alone now will long remain so,
will stay awake, read books, write long letters
and wander restless back and forth
along the tree-lined streets, as the leaves drift down.

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Anastasia Suen at Picture Book of the Day.


  1. Oh I like this a lot, especially,
    "Lay your shadows on the sundials,"

    An MFA in poetry? Wow, I'd say she's a good match for you. I just picked up my copy of Operation Yes and am looking forward to reading it this weekend.

  2. Sara,

    Send my thanks along to Tina for her excellent Poetry Friday selection. I love the first stanza!

  3. "Lord: your summer was superb."

    This seems to me the perfect prayer on a rainy, chilly, leaf-littered, acorn-falling autumn morning. The only thing I'd add to that would be. "Thanks."

  4. OMG! I am so excited about a new bilingual edition of Rilke coming out! Thanks for sharing the news. Love this one, so perfect for autumn--although a little melancholy at the end--reminding me of places Rilke seemed to find himself in so often.

  5. God, I love him. What a great opening line. And what a fabulous MFA for your agent to have.

    Jules, 7-Imp


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