William Ruleman

For The Kings of This World . . .

(by Rainer Maria Rilke; translated by

William Ruleman)

For the kings of this world, it is getting late.

Now none of them will have an heir.

Their sons died young and devil-may-care,

So they’ve dealt their daughters (pale, unfair)

The cracked and tarnished crowns of the state.

The rabble breaks them into coins

The trendy lord of the world purloins

To melt and shape for machines in the fire

Of his every sickly whim and desire.

And yet, in time, his luck will expire.

For the ore is homesick and wants to flee

The little coins and wheels and chains

That teach him to feel that life is small.

And out of bank and factory

He’ll find his way back into the veins

Of the vast and gouged-out mountain wall

That will shut and lock behind him.

Die Könige der Welt sind alt...

Die Könige der Welt sind alt

und werden keine Erben haben.

Die Söhne sterben schon als Knaben,

und ihre bleichen Töchter gaben

die kranken Kronen der Gewalt.

Der Pöbel bricht sie klein zu Geld,

der zeitgemäße Herr der Welt

dehnt sie im Feuer zu Maschinen,

die seinem Wollen grollend dienen;

aber das Glück ist nicht mit ihnen.

Das Erz hat Heimweh. Und verlassen

will es die Münzen und die Räder,

die es ein kleines Leben lehren.

Und aus Fabriken und aus Kassen

wird es zurück in das Geäder

der aufgetanen Berge kehren,

die sich verschließen hinter ihm.

William Ruleman © 2014

The Outlier

You tend to do things right;

I tend to do things wrong.

No remedy in sight

For one who can’t get along

With others as one should:

Ah, how can I be good?

I’ve tried to be a good boy—

Strained to shun the role

Of uncooperative killjoy—

Hurt to heal my soul,

Done the best I could:

Still, how can I be good?

I peer into the mirror

And see a look of hate;

What could be any clearer

Than seeing it’s too late

To hope I ever could

Succeed in being good?

Perhaps my case should show

That everyone who tries

To toe the line and flow

With the common flood soon dies

Inside, misunderstood

And held as no damned good.

Lines Written In Spain’s Baza National Park

Might what we shun as sentimentality

At times be simply refusal to sanction the cruel?

Embracing the world, we deign to accept the gruel

We down in deference to the mentality

That welcomes everyday banality

And merrily mounts the media’s dunce’s stool.

And would we rather play the fool

Than dare defy the world’s brutality?

Today I saw a falcon cramped in a cage

That barely left it room to peck its beak

Or rattle the ruthless wires with its curled-up claws.

The ire in its eyes betrayed my pent-up rage

With my day’s lust to know who’s tops this week

And who is caught in destiny’s playful paws.

William Ruleman © 2014