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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.


Love Song

for Laura

by Rainer Maria Rilke,
translated by Mark Olival-Bartley

How shall my soul be held up to yours yet
not come to agitate? And with what grace
to hoist it over you to other things?
O how I wish it were that we could get
lost in the dark, where no vibration rings
to stir that very still and still strange place
when your deepest-down depth takes breath and sings.
For all that touches us, both you and I,
takes us as when the swinging bow lets fly
two sounds together to make one voice strong.
Upon which instrument are we strings spanned?
And who is it that holds us in his hand?
O sweetest song.

von Rainer Maria Rilke

Wie soll ich meine Seele halten, daß
sie nicht an deine rührt? Wie soll ich sie
hinheben über dich zu andern Dingen?
Ach gerne möchte ich sie bei irgendetwas
Verlorenem im Dunkel unterbringen
an einer fremden stillen Stelle, die
nicht weiterschwingt, wenn deine Tiefen schwingen.
Doch alles, was uns anrührt, dich und mich,
nimmt uns zusammen wie ein Bogenstrich,
die aus zwei Saiten eine Stimme zieht.
Auf welches Instrument sind wir gespannt?
Und welcher Geiger hat uns in der Hand?
O süßes Lied.

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