Wednesday, January 12, 2005

from Paul Celan's Proverb on the Wall *

--Paul Celan

A reading branch, just one,
feeding your forehead,

a source of light you
drowsily swallow
passes through the hungry

seeing-aid, layer streaked,
over the moon-touched
backscatter probes. Macroscale: microscale.

Still, there are earths, earths.
Cornea-coated basalt
kissed by spacecraft:
orbital-show, and yet:
landlocked horizona.

Terrestrial, terrestrial.

A reading branch, just one,
feeding the forehead--as if you were writing
it lands on the picture-postcard--
that was before
the bloodclot,
on the threshold
of the lungs--a year away, greetings from Pilsen,
a year around,
time-wild from so much
quiet unfurling:

Bon vent, bonne mer,

a flapping
occipital lobe, a
glimpse of the sea,
is hoisting, right where you live,
its un-


The cables have already been laid
to happiness past
and its logistical

and ahead
in the cantonment areas
where they're spraying wellness agents
mild melodic antidotes
the final sprint
through your consciousness.

(101-103) *

* Paul Celan, Glottal Stop: 101 Poems. Translated by Nikolai Popov and Heather McHugh. Wesleyan UP, 2000.

Also Note this on Celan: check out this Swiss film on Celan's short story, "Conversation in the Mountains," written after a failed mountain rondevous with contemporary philosopher, Theodor Adorno, who wrote in his book, Minima Moralia, that poetry could not be written after [such human disasters as] Auschwitz.

And here are some links to sites about Celan:

--PAUL CELAN: THE LIMITS OF LANGUAGE [includes bio and critical studies]

Ovid Jacob's site with exposition about Celan's work, Todesfuge, [Death Fugue], and his Jewish heritage.

Eine Paul Celan Website. A Paul Celan Homepage [Alan Ng's Celan Homepage--very comprehensive and informative]