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Paul Celan

14 POEMS FROM BREATHTURN translated by John Felstiner First published in Selected Poems and Prose of Paul Celan, translated by John Felstiner, New York: W.W. Norton, 2001. Black like memory’s wound, the eyes grub toward you in a Crownland bitten bright by heart’s teeth – it remains our bed: through this shaft you must come – you come. In the seed’s sense the sea stars you out, innermost, for ever. An end to the granting of names, over you I cast my fate.

Conversations from smokemouth to smokemouth. . a piece of unburied poesy. They eat: the bedlamite truffle. A tear rolls back into its eye. found tongue and tooth. then trussed you up – illumines the space and listens: the clinker game against death can begin. The orphaned left half of the pilgrim shell – they gave you it.124 Janus Head Landscape with urn beings.

tolling counter time. larger and large we grew through one another. . sewn onto heavenstones. a tower the Half built itself into Wither. wornblood-born in the night bed. ran through the hourglass we swam through.Paul Celan 125 IN PRAGUE The half death. there was no more name for what drove us (one of the thirtyhow many was my living shadow that climbed the madness stairs up to you?). a Hradčany out of pure goldmakers-No. two dreams now. lay ash-image-true all around us – we too went on drinking. two daggers. in the squares. ground down to sperm. Bone Hebrew. suckled plump on our life. soul-crossed.

. deep in a petrified oath. Pontic Once-upon-a-time: here a drop on the drowned oarblade. Before you.) Ashaureole behind you Threewayshands.126 Janus Head Ash-Aureole behind your shaken knotted hands at the Threeways. it bubbles up. while the gleaming Tatar moon climbed up to us. frightful. No one bears witness for the witness. higher than on high. the easterly dicethrow. (On the plumblined breath cable. between two pain knots. back then. I dug me into you and you.

what’s spoken. glimmers up. dolphins race through liquefied names. seagreen. burns in the bays. glimmers up? .Paul Celan 127 What’s written goes hollow. who in this shadow quadrant is grasping. in a memory of outcrying bells in – but where?. who underneath glimmers up. here in forevered Nowhere.

the wisdom-pit named Never. In trouble’s rubble and scree. Water needles stitch up the split shadow – it fights its way deeper down. in slowest tumult. . free.128 Janus Head Where? At night in the crumbling rockmass.

servile: psalmhooved. .Paul Celan 129 King’s rage. openleafed Bible mountains. singing out over o-. the vigilantes untamable. And the prayers up in smoke – pain-driven stallions. o-. stone-maned. toward the clear and clattering. out front. the brute buds of the sea.

130 Janus Head SOLVE Dis-easted. past cathedrals. floated upstream and down by the tinily flaring. the free punctuation of salvaged. a gravetree split into splintered kindling: past the poison palaces. . fled asunder to the countlessly nameable unutterable names. Scripture.

. in the outspeaking red ashpotent alembic.Paul Celan 131 COAGULA Also your wound. And the horns’ light of your Romanian buffaloes in place of a star above the sand bed. Rosa.

) We here. we. floating. knotted out of thought ends – at what depth? There: eternity’s farthing bitten and spat up to us through the mesh. sea is still sea. (Never was Heaven.. three scorpions: the guest people. with the letter-like track of a keel in the midst. The net beneath. . On the outmost edge of sight: a dance of two blades above the heartshadow’s rope. with us in the boat.132 Janus Head Paschal smoke. at the tent where you baked wilderness bread out of co-wandered language. yet burning red. Three sand voices. glad of the crossing.

knitted from nightgall well behind time: who is invisible enough to see you? Mantle eye. again scrolling open what lies there – Ten blindman’s sticks. . climbing to this desk. This is still us. almond eye. upright. sense-fringes. coming through each and every wall. soar up from the justborn sign. stand over it. fiery. free.Paul Celan 133 Show-fringes.

amidst the metaphor squall.134 Janus Head A rumbling: it is Truth itself walked among men. .

. At the wart tower.Paul Celan 135 Oozing. a brightness sickles as though words were grasping. Yet one more sluice. among giant rowing sporangiums. you debouch. bathed in brackishness. then weedy stillness on the banks. In front of you.

Printed in the United States of America . they I’ed. Light was. 10(1). I heard him.W. unseen. One and infinite. All rights reserved. Norton.136 Janus Head Once. annihilated. 7-24. nightlong. real. Salvat Janus Head. Copyright © 2001 W. Used with permission. he was washing the world.