Rainer Maria Rilke: “Blank Joy”

Blank Joy

She who never arrived, didn’t she contrive
nonetheless to design and decorate my heart?

If we were only here to live what we love,
what then would the heart have left to create?

O sweet joy left blank, perhaps you are
the center of my work, the center of my love.

And if I’ve wept for you so much, that’s because
I’ve preferred your blankness to anything I’ve sketched.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Translate from German by Paul Weinfield, © 2013
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2 responses to “Rainer Maria Rilke: “Blank Joy”

  1. How does the original German go? I am intrigued by your translation being different from all the other versions I’ve seen out there, but I’m having trouble finding it in German.

    • Unbelegte Freude

      Sie, die nicht, nicht sie kam, gestellt nichtsdestoweniger fest, mein
      Herz zu organisieren und zu verzieren? Wenn wir bestehen mußten, um
      das zu werden, wir, lieben was würden das Herz müssen verursachen?

      Reizende Freude linker freier Raum, möglicherweise sind Sie die Mitte
      aller meiner Arbeiten und meine Lieben. Wenn ich für Sie soviel
      geweint habe, ist er, weil ich Sie unter so vielen umrissenen Freuden
      bevorzugte.

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