Rilke: The Apple Orchard

Heaney’s version of a second Rilke poem leaves readers with a double challenge: addressing the complex thinking process of the original poet and considering Heaney’s success as interpreter and translator. For latter comparison an alternative version is appended. Heaney sees a correspondence with his own inner feelings as if conscious of a certain ‘something’ inside himself that he needs to ‘excavate’. Ultimately he digests Rilke’s message! Rilke invites us to observe (watch) changes of light brought on by nightfall in an apple orchard (deepening of green in the evening sward).  This has a purpose – he is seeking to give meaning to his feeling (it will be expressed in a long single sentence) that, just as darkness deepens at dusk, […]