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Sonnets to Orpheus II, 13

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This setting of a Rainer Maria Rilke poem is a collaboration with Edmonton poet Dan Knauss. In Dan's words: "Nick Sergeant shared the translation of this poem by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows with members of Dougald Hine’s Homeward Bound community, and as much as I like Macy and Barrows’ appreciation and understanding of Rilke, their English rendering didn’t make the transfers in sound and sense that I wanted. Neither did Stephen Mitchell’s. The literal sense needs to be preserved sometimes by taking great liberties with a non-literal translation, and if you can make it sing too, that feels like perfection. I had Dana’s 'The Makings of a Voice' ringing in my ears, and that was my guide for the music of this translation."
I heard music in Dan's translation as soon as he sent it to me, and though I shared his thought that the abstractness of Rilke's concepts makes his work challenging to set to music, I couldn't help but take a crack at it. This is the result.