Am I Rendering, Or Surrendering?

Little-Free-Library Am I rendering, or surrendering?I consider the growth of Little Free Libraries to be a wholesome development in a troubled world. They give people a chance to start an exchanging flow by sowing the seed of a book without demanding recompense. They give people a chance to get their hands on a book that they might not be able to find or afford otherwise. It is my sincere hope that this idea will continue to prosper.

Am I rendering, or surrendering?

Mentioning the Little Free Libraries is my way of offering gratitude for a book I found in a Little Free Library this past weekend. It was the book “I Heard God Laughing: Poems of Hope and Joy” This is a book of poetry by the 14th-Century Persian poet Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky. I have shared poems and quotes by Rumi and poems by Kabir. On further review, I consider not sharing any poems by Hafiz to be an omission on my part. It is my sincere hope that Hafiz will become better known in the western world.

Hafiz of Shiraz. Am I rendering, or surrendering?Am I rendering, or surrendering? I have mentioned how Coleman Barks became the go-to Rumi translator for late-20th-early-21st-century America. I have mentioned how Anita Barrows and Joanne Macy are emerging as go-to Rilke translators. I believe that Daniel Ladinsky is emerging as a go-to translator for Hafiz.

Daniel Ladinsky. Am I rendering, or surrendering?

Am I rendering, or surrendering? Daniel Ladinsky has freely admitted that his translations of Hafiz are not exact translations, but attempts to capture the spirit of the author. He wrote something in this book that got my attention. I’m not quoting it exactly, because I gave the book to one of my children to read. But he said something to the effect that rendering an English translation of one of Hafiz’s poems involves a certain surrendering to the material, a certain surrendering to the greater context of Hafiz’s life and work.

Am I rendering, or surrendering? Why did this get my attention? Because Steps to Knowledge, the book of spiritual practice of the New Message from God, uses the phrase “render your gifts” to describe some of the acts and processes of fulfilling one’s purpose in the world. Apparently the rendering of one’s gifts has a certain disruptive influence, especially without a certain preparation:

“Accept the restraint and development that are called for now, for they will protect you and enable you to render your gifts with a minimum of discord and personal risk. They will guarantee the wholeness and worthiness of your contribution, for it will be untainted by selfish motives.” (Step 269, “The power of Knowledge will extend itself from me.”)

Am I rendering, or surrendering? Am I translating the poem that is my gift into a language some people in my world can understand? If so, it would seem I need to surrender to it. It would seem I need to surrender to its greater context, just as Daniel Ladinsky is doing in his surrenderings of Hafiz. What will my surrenderings look like?

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

My Inner Life Imitates, Drinking In Silence

Rainer Maria Rilke, 1900 My inner life imitates, drinking in silenceThis is another literary experiment. There are already two perfectly good English translations of the poem “Ich habe viele Brüder in Soutanen” from The Book of Hours by Rainer Maria Rilke. One translation is by Robert Bly, and another translation is by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy. Here is the original German:

Ich habe viele Brüder in Soutanen
im Süden, wo in Klöstern Lorbeer steht.
Ich weiß, wie menschlich sie Madonnen planen
und träume oft von jungen Tizianen,
durch die der Gott in Gluten geht.

Doch wie ich mich auch in mich selber neige:
Mein Gott ist dunkel und wie ein Gewebe
von hundert Wurzeln, welche schweigsam trinken.
Nur, dass ich mich aus seiner Wärme hebe,
mehr weiß ich nicht, weil alle meine Zweige
tief unten ruhn und nur im Winde winken.

My inner life imitates, drinking in silence

Barrows and Macy suggest that the Madonnas Rilke is talking about in this poem are the Madonnas of Sandro Botticelli, like this one:

Madonna and Child by Sandro Botticelli. My inner life imitates, drinking in silenceand this one:

Madonna of the Magnificat by Sandro Botticelli. My inner life imitates, drinking in silenceI read the existing translations, and I think to myself “I know that’s what he said, but that’s not what I think he meant.” And since I’ve already railed against complaining, I have to do something about it instead. So I did. It’s definitely not an exact translation, but it says what I think he meant.

I have many brothers, in holy brown robes
In the south, laurels in monastery gardens.
The way they imagine the Madonna – so human
As I often dream of Titians
Through whom God walks as fire.

Though I dig into the rich, dark earth of myself,
My God is still deeper
My inner life imitates, drinking in silence

The life you see springs from his abundance,
More than that is a mystery to me.

I am pleased with myself for following in Robert Bly’s footsteps, stealing a grain of sugar from the castle of sugar which is the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

I Believe In All That Has Never Yet Been Spoken by Rainer Maria Rilke

Rainer Maria Rilke wrote of all that has never yet been spoken in 1899

This poem was written sometime in late 1899, shortly after Rilke’s first trip to Russia. It is part of the book “The Book of Hours.” The Book of Hours is more commonly called “Rilke’s Book of Hours” to distinguish it from the Christian devotional book of the 16th Century. After writing the group of poems containing this poem, Rilke wrote in his journal “I have begun my life.”

Anita Barrows translated Rilke's poem "I believe in all that has never yet been spoken"Joanna Macy translated Rilke's poem "I believe in all that has never yet been spoken"

Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy are the translators of this rendering. I haven’t heard of either of them until recently. Translating Rilke isn’t the main occupation for either of them, but their three Rilke translation collaborations have been warmly received. I believe they are (or are becoming) to Rilke what Coleman Barks is to Rumi; beloved late 20th-early 21st Century interpreters.

All that has never yet been spoken

Here is the poem in the original German.

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for

may for once spring clear
without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,

streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

 

Does the title need work? The German version has a title “Alles noch nie Gesagte” (All that has not yet been said). Barrows and Macy took poetic license with the second line, changing “most pious feelings” to “what waits within me.” It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if the title of this poem was “I believe in what waits within me.” But most people know this poem by its first line.

Why am I sharing this poem with you now? Because the bit about “what no one dared to wish for” got me. What is it that no one dared to wish for? A new message from God, that’s what.

A fellow student wrote something yesterday which provides an exclamation point:

“Show me the prayers of humankind and I will show you a New Message from God; show me the fate of a spiritual people and I will show you God’s Prophecy; show me the promise of intelligent life and I will show you God’s blessing; show me purpose, meaning and direction and I will show you a Time of Revelation. Such is upon us. Such is the power of our prayer and of our existence.”

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.