I would be remiss if I didn't warn you: This translation is extremely high handed and inaccurate. Ms. Kidder ignores adjectives to an alarming extent. Even important nouns are ignored for the sake of a haphazard rhyme scheme of her own invention that bears absolutely no relation to Rilke's.
The following example is typical:
Und manchmal bin ich wie der Baum,
der, reif unrauschend, über einem Grabe
den Traum erfüllt, den der vergangne Knabe
(um den sich seine warmen Wurzeln drängen)
verlor in Traurigkeiten und Gesängen.
Which Kidder translates as follows:
And sometimes I am like the tree
which, ripe and rustling above a grave,
fulfills himself the dream the boy
(round whom the living roots entwine)
once had and lost
vergangne (bygone or, perhaps erstwhile) the adjective that qualifies "Knabe" is ignored. "warmen Wurzeln" or "warm roots " is changed to the drier "living roots"
and "Traurigkeiten und Gesängen" - "Sorrows and singing" is completely ignored.
How does a translator ignore a line like "lost in sorrows and songs (or singing)". Also, what the hell is "fulfills himself the dream the boy" doing for us or Rilke?
Her capricious rhymes are baffling. They occur willy-nilly throughout, whenever she feels the urge or finds some opportunity to rhyme. Rilke's rhythms and meter seem to be of no consequence. Take this for instance:
Rilke's stanza goes like this:
Nur eine schmale Wand is zwischen uns,
durch Zufall; denn es könnte sein
ein Rufen deines oder meines Munds'
und sie bricht ein
ganz ohne Lärm un Laut.
Only a thin wall is between us,
mere happenstance; so there is a chance
that a call from your or my mouth
might break it down
Kidder ignores "Lärm" (not to mention "ganz") in the last line and constructs a rhyme of "sound" with "down" and "mouth", making a rhyme scheme of ABCCC, where Rilke's is ABABC. Why sacrifice a beautiful word like "Lärm" or "noise" for the sake of a lame rhyme that has absolutely nothing to do with anything.
Also, the phrase "that a call from your or my mouth" (preservation of her scheme) sounds stiff in English where "that a call from your mouth or mine" would sacrifice nothing in sense and be more musical.
Or this line: "Wie bauen Bilder vor dir auf wie Wände" which Kidder translates as "We stockpile images of you like walls" forgoing the plainer more accurate and poetically satisfying "build up images of you like walls" for a "stockpile" which of course has nothing to do with walls (one doesn't stockpile walls, one constructs them builds them, piles them, erects them, or forms them. So go ahead and pile up images like walls. A stockpile, however, is a stockpile - 1. Something kept back or saved for future use or a special purpose; 2. a storage pile accumulated for future use). In short, the "stockpile" is too complicated an allusion here.
It just goes on and on: "sooft dich unsre Herzen offen sehn" is translated as "each time our hearts are wide" (again, to preserve a capricious rhyme) when "each time our hearts are open" (or `wide open", if you like) would be more accurate and evocative.
Why when Rilke writes "nach jeder Angst und jeder Nacht" does Kidder change the order of "worry" and "night " to read "after every night and every worry"?. Why not preserve the order and the rhythm by translating it "after every fear (or care, perhaps) and every night" (the dark after the fear)
I found it hard to trust this translation.