The beggar's song
translated by Mike R. Burch, orginal Rainier
Rainer Maria Rilke translated by Michael Burch
I live outside your gates,
exposed to the rain, exposed to the sun;
sometimes I’ll cradle my right ear
in my right palm;
then when I speak my voice sounds strange,
alien . . .
I’m unsure whose voice I’m hearing:
mine or yours.
I implore a trifle;
the poets cry for more.
Sometimes I cover both eyes
and my face disappears;
there it lies heavy in my hands
looking peaceful, unafraid,
so that no one would ever think
I have no place to lay my head.
Michael R. Burch’s poems and translations have appeared in hundreds of literary journals. He also edits www.thehypertexts.com and has served as guest editor of international poetry and translations for Better Than Starbucks.