Rainer Maria Rilke: Fall


The leaves are falling, falling from afar,
from distant gardens wilting in the heavens;
they fall as if refusing their descent.

And in the nights, through lonely firmament,
the grave earth falls, away from every star.

We’re falling, each of us. This hand here bends.
And look at others: it is in them all.

And yet there is One capturing each fall
within his infinitely gentle hands.


Die Blätter fallen, fallen wie von weit,
als welkten in den Himmeln ferne Gärten;
sie fallen mit verneinender Gebärde.

The Viewer

It’s difficult to get news from the News.
Yet still he watches: whether to amuse
himself, or bolster his own static views,
or—feeling righteous—even just to lose
his temper (as his father did with booze),
he’s not sure, and no longer looks for clues.
Much like his car, his mind is set to CRUISE.

He tunes in every evening, mutely chews
his food, stares like the spectators at zoos,
and thinks, Oh well. I’ve worked hard, paid my dues.
Why try to fathom every stranger’s blues?
Though no one asks, most days he would refuse
to walk a mile, even in his own shoes.