Rilke's Angel

I am in Rilke state of mind today. As a translator and writing poems mainly in English myself, I am always fascinated by Rilke's skilful use of language in his French poems--considering the fact that he was Bohemian-Austrian--but even more by his powerful depictions. The one I love most is perhaps his Angel in the poem "An Angel At My Table". A visionary yet rustic presence whose invisible traits linger in me after each single reading. The physical description is missing, but one has the impression of truly seeing the winged creature. Enjoy Rilke's wonderful piece of bravura (not lost in translation)!

Stay still, if suddenly
the Angel decides to appear at your table;
smooth out the creases
in the tablecloth under your bread.

Offer him to take a turn
at tasting your crude fare,
to take a turn lifting to his pure lips
a simple glass of everyday life.


  1. Wonderful! I recommend his Letters to a Young Poet to anyone who says they want to write poetry. So amazing!

  2. Alessandra, you are a wonder to my poetry education! Fantastic! More, please!

  3. I love that book, Kate!
    And, I am glad you enjoyed the post, John! :)

  4. This is a very nice translation. Thank you.


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