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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Etter

Paul Celan: 70 Poems (trans. Michael Hamburger) (Persea, 2013), second selection


at times when

only the void stood between us we got

all the way to each other.

end of 'So many constellations'

A nothing

we were, are, shall

remain, flowering:

from 'Psalm'

As one speaks to stone, like

you,

from the chasm, from

a home become a

sister to me, hurled

towards me, you,

you that long ago,

you in the nothingness of a night,

you in the multi-night en-

countered, you

multi-you--:

opening stanza of 'Radix, Matrix'

A tree-

high thought

tunes in to light's pitch; there are

still songs to be sung on the other side

of mankind.

from 'Thread suns'

Light was. Salvation.

last line of 'Once'

Think of it:

the bog soldier of Massada

teaches himself home, most

inextinguishably,

against

every barb in the wire.

opening stanza of 'Think of It'

a green, not of this place,

with down covered the chin

of the rock which the orphans

buried and

buried again.

last stanza of 'The eternities struck'

This year

does not roar across,

it hurls back December, November,

it turns the soil of its wounds,

it opens to you, young

grave-

well,

twelvemouthed.

second and final stanza of 'Well-digger in the wind'

I hear that they call life

our only refuge.

last stanza of 'I hear that the axe has flowered'

Januaried

into the thorn-covered

rock recess. (Get drunk

and call it

Paris.)

first stanza of 'Januaried'

Don't adjourn yourself, you.

last stanza of 'Mapesbury Road'

Paul Celan: 70 Poems can easily be ordered from your local independent bookstore.

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