“You, my friend, are lonely” / Sonnets to Orpheus

“Dale” Photo by Bruce Donehower


A Sonnet for a Dog

“Du, mein Freund, bist einsam”

“You, my friend, are lonely.

Sonnets to Orpheus / Part 1, Sonnet 16 / by Rainer Maria Rilke

In this performance video, Marion recites in German. My translation of the German appears in captions as Marion speaks. I wrote the music to express my understanding of the poem. Translation © Bruce Donehower, 2021.



In 1921 Rilke moved into the tower at Muzot. In the coming weeks of winter 1922, he completed the Duino Elegies and wrote the Sonnets to Orpheus: two poetic masterpieces of the twentieth century.

In the autumn, a neighbor thought that the poet might like to have a dog to keep him company.

Rilke declined the offer.

I don’t know what happened to the pooch.