"You know I'd like to slip"

You know I'd like to slip
from the loudly buzzing room
when the first pale stars,
high above the darkened oaks,
catch fire.

I want to make my way
through paths that few can find
in the hushed evening meadows,
with no dream but this:
you’re there, too.

"Weisst du, ich will mich schleichen"
Rainer Maria Rilke/translated by Frank Beck

This is from Rilke's second collection, Advent, published in December 1897. The poems were written in Prague and Munich during 1896 and 1897.

Many of the poems in this collection, like this one, show a more direct and sensual side of Rilke that gives little indication of the mystical, sometimes oracular, voice he would develop later. (The photo shows Rilke at the artist colony in Worpswede, near Bremen, in 1901 or 1902.)

Here's the German poem:

Weisst du, ich will mich schleichen
Leise aus lautem Kreis,
Wenn ich erst die bleichen
Sterne über den Eichen
Blühen weiss.

Wege will ich erkiesen,
Die selten wer betritt
In blassen Abendwiesen –
Und keinen Traum, als diesen:


  1. Hi Frank, I have been searching for some way to contact you but I hope this comment gets to you.I wanted to set this piece for choir or voice. Would you allow me to set your translation of this poem to music? alexmacomposer.wixsite.com/home

    1. Just seeing this now. Yes, you’re welcome to do that.

    2. Alex Ma, ComposerJuly 9, 2022 at 3:19 PM

      Thank you! I've started writing. Is it possible for you to leave a message at my contact page so I have a written permission from Frank Beck to set the poem to music? This would be at www.alexmacomposer.wixsite.com/home/contact