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Mark Olival-Bartley studied applied linguistics at Hawaii Pacific University, attaining B.A. and M.A. degrees in Teaching English as a Second Language, and poetry at the City College of New York. He is now writing a dissertation on the sonnets of E. A. Robinson at LMU, where he tutors composition alongside editing flyers on poetry and style. His poems and translations have appeared in journals on both sides of the Atlantic. He is the resident poet at EcoHealth, where his science-themed verse is regularly featured, and a senior copyeditor at Review of International American Studies. He also teaches at Münchner Volkshochschule and leads the Amerikahaus Literaturkreis.


The Death of the Poet

by Rainer Maria Rilke,
translated by Mark Olival-Bartley

There he lay. His pale face, propped up, then fell
to balk at the steepness of the pillow
as the world and what of it one can know
were being ripped from his senses ever so,
relapsing through a year of listless hell.

Those who saw him then did not know the grace
with which he was at one with all of this—
because this:  This depth, this meadow, and this
water transmogrified his deluged face.

On his face, there came indeed a vast tide
wanting him and looking for him with care;
his mask is, with the fear no longer there,
as tender and open as the inside
of a fruit spoiling in the outside air.

Der Tod des Dichters

von Rainer Maria Rilke

Er lag. Sein aufgestelltes Antlitz war
bleich und verweigernd in den steilen Kissen,
seitdem die Welt und dieses von-ihr-Wissen,
von seinen Sinnen abgerissen,
zurückfiel an das teilnahmslose Jahr.

Die, so ihn leben sahen, wußten nicht,
wie sehr er Eines war mit allem diesen;
denn Dieses: diese Tiefen, diese Wiesen
und diese Wasser waren sein Gesicht.

O sein Gesicht war diese ganze Weite,
die jetzt noch zu ihm will und um ihn wirbt;
und seine Maske, die nun bang verstirbt,
ist zart und offen wie die Innenseite
von einer Frucht, die an der Luft verdirbt.

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