Kalungkutan: A translation to Filipino of Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem “Einsamkeit”

(August is the Month of the National Language in the Philippines, and I usually celebrate it by making translations from and to Filipino. To kick off this year’s month, I translated my favorite Rilke poem to Filipino. I must confess I am not proficient in German. Instead, I made use of an English Translation while scrutinizing the original German using Google Translate. I am confident that my Filipino translation is loyal to the original’s meaning, but I have taken the liberty to incorporate rhyme in it.)


Rainer Maria Rilke

Die Einsamkeit ist wie ein Regen.
Sie steigt vom Meer den Abenden entgegen;
von Ebenen, die fern sind und entlegen,
geht sie zum Himmel, der sie immer hat.
Und erst vom Himmel fällt sie auf die Stadt.

Regnet hernieder in den Zwitterstunden,
wenn sich nach Morgen wenden alle Gassen
und wenn die Leiber, welche nichts gefunden,
enttäuscht und traurig von einander lassen;
und wenn die Menschen, die einander hassen,
in einem Bett zusammen schlafen müssen:

dann geht die Einsamkeit mit den Flüssen…



Translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

Loneliness is like the rain.
It rises from the sea toward evening
and from distant plains moves into sky
where it ever belongs.
And from the sky it falls upon us in the city.

It rains here below in the twilight hours
when alleyways wind toward morning
and when lovers, finding nothing,
leave the failure of each other’s arms,
and when two who loathe each other
must share the same bed:

Then loneliness flows with the rivers…



Ang Kalungkutan, parang ulan.
Hahayaw ito tungo sa gabi mula sa karagatan;
Mula sa mga malalawak na kapatagan,
Susubang sa kanyang nararapat na kalangitan.
At mula doon, maaalindahaw sa mga bayan.

Tuwing sa mga alanganing oras uulan,
kumakatay tungo sa umaga ang mga daan,
Sa pagkapalaw ng mga nag-iibigan,
ang isa’t isa ay kanilang bibiyaan;
at sa tuwing ang dalawa na kapwa nagsisimuhian
ay mapipilitang dumulog sa iisang higaan:

Sabay sa ilog ang agos ng Kalungkutan…


One Comment on “Kalungkutan: A translation to Filipino of Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem “Einsamkeit””

  1. inday bisaya says:

    mga alanganing oras = sikat! really nice
    unta kabalo sab ko mobinisaya na wa’y sagol nga salita nga dayuhan:)

    “enttäuscht und traurig von einander lassen”
    “leave the failure of each other’s arms”

    not an authoritative, literal (thus not literary) translation :
    part from each other deceived (literally =disappointed) and sorrowful

    the english translation by Barrows and Macy seems to depart too much from the original for this specific line, a pity since it discards two absolutely poetic words = traurig, enttäuscht.

    also about this line:
    und wenn die Leiber, welche nichts gefunden

    Leiber = bodies (sing. der Leib)
    the french translation below (translator not cited) keeps the word bodies, which would be consistent, one supposes, with the physical imagery(?) used in the last lines of the stanza, as opposed to the 1st.


    La solitude est comme une pluie
    Elle monte de la mer à la rencontre des soirs,
    Des plaines, qui sont lointaines et dispersées
    elle va jusqu’au ciel qui toujours la possède
    et là du ciel elle retombe sur la ville.
    Elle se déverse sur les heures indifférenciées
    lorsque les rues se tournent vers le matin
    Et lorsque les corps qui ne se sont pas trouvés
    se détachent l’un de l’autre abusés et tristes
    Et lorsque les hommes qui se haïssent
    sont obligés de coucher ensemble dans un même et seul lit :
    Alors la solitude s’en va dans les fleuves…

    Rainer Maria Rilke, 21.9.1902, Paris


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