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Review: Pure Contradiction: Selected Poems, by Rainer Maria Rilke

Warwick Review, December 2012, Will Stone

Crockatt is to be commended for including a few rarer items, such as The Asylum Garden-Dijon, or the wonderful and virtually unknown The Tower-Furnes, detailing a giddy ascent to the summit of the cathedral-like Sint Walburga church in now Flemish Veurne. In the poem Christ's descent into Hell, a certain patience and measured compactness in the translation introduces the original to English without the latter appearing discommoded. I compared Crockatt's version to that by Michael Hamburger in his Uncollected Rilke and it appears to offer a plausible alternative.

And the darkness was afraid of being alone
and flung bats against the wan light?
in whose flutterings tremulous evenings
expressed their fear of making contact
with that chilling agony...