haveatautnessandsenseofpacethatislikeamemoryoftheir making, recycling motifs in different permutations and seeminglyinventingthemselvesastheygoalong. Perhapsthe bestthingaboutPaterson’sversionisthewayheconveysthis. Rilke’s rhymes, if sometimes risky (Banane / Ich ahne), are always full, whereas Paterson mostly uses varieties of halfrhyme. Nodoubtthisisclosertohisusual practice, helpingto make a rhymedversionthat works, but it alsosuggests the improvisednatureoftheoriginal, the tenuouslydelicateaction of the Sonette. This is alsoachievedbya conversational tone, alsopresent inRilke. For instance, in‘TheGods’ (I, 24), ‘we neverset/ ourpathsassweetmeanders; welaythemstraight’, follows exactly the words though not the lineation of the German, but is altogether more familiar, off-hand, idlybut aptlyspokenwheretheGerman(schööne Määander ) soundsmore formal. ‘Horseman’ (I, 11) ends ‘Andmaybe that’s enough’, more sceptical thanthe certainty of the German. Paterson’s great virtue, as inhis ownpoetry, is plainness andclarity, a purityof diction. In‘TheDoubleRealm’ (I, 6) thereisanodd shift out of the contemporary. Where Rilke simplytalks of goingtobed,Patersonhas:‘Whenyoupinchthecandles,never leavethebread/ ormilkoutonthetable; thefamishedshades /aredrawnbythem’. ‘Bed’ wouldhaveinterferedwith‘bread’, whereas ‘pinchthecandles’ not onlyfits thedeft, quick, neat gesture it evokes but alsopicks out the ‘famishedshades’ in the following line. This deftness and confidence, alongside Paterson’s subtle sense of contemporizing, illustrates what is goodabout this translation, the intimacyof knowledge and worditpossesses. Most of Paterson’s divergences are successful inthis way. Onlyoccasionallydoeshecomplicateinanunconvincingway, asinthelasttercetof ‘TheReal’ (II, 10):
Beforethebeyond-words, wordsscatterlikestraw. Andmusicstill quarriesitspurposelessspace forthevibrantrock, tobuilditsholyplace.