Rainer Maria Rilke was a great writer and a fair person. He was already well known when Kafka appeared on the literary scene. On one occasion, Rainer Maria Rilke arranged to have the money he received from winning the highly prestigious Fontane Prize given to Kafka, as being the better writer.
Happy Birthday, R.M. Rilkeby Stephan Delbos
One of the greatest poets of the twentieth century, Rainer Maria Rilke was born in Prague December 4, 1875. Rilke grew up at Jindrisska 19, just off Wenceslas Square. To commemorate the anniversary of the poet’s birth, Colophon presents two early Prague poems written by Rilke, translated by Prague-based poet Anne Brechin. Rilke wrote several poems about Prague before he left the city in 1896 to study in Munich, but they are among his juvenilia and are not widely known among English speakers.
Out of Smichov
Homewards, through hot evening reds:
factory-men and whores
with distress written in sweat and grime
on their low, dull foreheads.
You could break an eye on their slumped
demeanour. Heavy slam their bootsoles
on the road, stirring the dust
which howls after them like Fate.
It’s so pretty, the weatherbeaten
brow of the old Hofburg;
even the short stares of children
must climb it.
And its welcome look rushes
Vltava-waves to the castle’s foot.
From the bridge, the Holy Ones
The towers turn, the newer ones,
to St Vitus on the top
like a choir of children to their