Wir kannten nicht sein unerhörtes Haupt,
darin die Augenäpfel reiften. Aber
sein Torso glüht noch wie ein Kandelaber,
in dem sein Schauen, nur zurückgeschraubt,
sich hält und glänzt. Sonst könnte nicht der Bug
der Brust dich blenden, und im leisen Drehen
der Lenden könnte nicht ein Lächeln gehen
zu jener Mitte, die die Zeugung trug.
Sonst stünde dieser Stein enstellt und kurz
unter der Shultern durchsichtigem Sturz
und flimmerte nicht so wie Raubtierfelle;
und brächte nicht aus allen seinen Rändern
aus wie ein Stern: denn da ist keine Stelle,
die dich nicht sieht. Du mußt dein Leben ändern.
We never knew his fantastic head,
where eyes like apples ripened. Yet
his torso, like a lamp, still glows
with his gaze which, although turned down low,
lingers and shines. Else the prow of his breast
couldn't dazzle you, nor in the slight twist
of his loins could a smile run free
through that center which held fertility.
Else this stone would stand defaced and squat
under the shoulders' diaphanous dive
and not glisten like a predator's coat;
and not from every edge explode
like starlight: for there's not one spot
that doesn't see you. You must change your life.
Translated by H. Landman,
Never will we know his fabulous head
where the eyes' apples slowly ripened. Yet
his torso glows: a candelabrum set
before his gaze which is pushed back and hid,
restrained and shining. Else the curving breast
could not thus blind you, nor through the soft turn
of the loins could this smile easily have passed
into the bright groins where the genitals burned.
Else stood this stone a fragment and defaced,
with lucent body from the shoulders falling,
too short, not gleaming like a lion's fell;
nor would this star have shaken the shackles off,
bursting with light, until there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.
Translated by C F MacIntyre
We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,
gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.
Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast's fur:
would not, from all the borders of itself, burst like a star: for here there is no place that does not see you. You must change your life.
Translated by Stephen Mitchell
http://plagiarist.com/poetry/4486/ (amongst others)
You'll never know that terrific head,
or feel those eyeballs ripen on you--
yet something here keeps you in view,
as if his look had sunk inside
and still blazed on. Or the double axe
of the breast couldn't blind you, nor that grin
flash along the crease fo the loins
down to the low centre of his sex.
Or else he'd sit, headless and halved,
his shoulders falling to thin air--
not shiver like the pelt of a wolf
or burst from his angles like a star:
for there is nowhere to hide, nothing here
that does not see you. Now change your life.
Translated by Don Paterson