1 November 2012

The Dead

Don Paterson's version of one of the Sonnets to Orpheus by Raine Maria Rilke:
The Dead

Our business is with fruit and leaf and bloom.
Though they speak with more than just the season's tongue –
the colours that they blaze from the dark loam
all have something of a jealous tang

of the dead about them. What do we know of their part
in this, those secret brothers of the harrow,
invigorating the soil – oiling the dirt
so liberally with their essence, their black marrow?

But here's the question: are the flower and fruit
held out to us in love, or merely thrust
up at us, their masters, like a fist?

Or are they lords, asleep among the roots,
granting to us in their great largesse
this hybrid thing – part brute force, part mute kiss?

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