Wednesday, 13 February 2008

paul celan

Alchemical

Silence, cooked like gold,
in charred
hands.

Great, grey
sisterly shape
near like all that is lost:

All the names, all those
names
burnt with the rest. So much
ash to be blessed. So much
land won
above
the weightless, so weightless
rings
of souls.

Great, grey one.cinder-
less.

You, then.
You with the pale
bit-open bud,
you in the wine-flood.

(Us too, don't you think,
this clock dismissed?
Good,
good how your word died past us here.)

Silence, cooked like gold, in
charred, charred
hands.
Insubstantial as smoke. Like crests, crests of air
around --

Great, grey one. Wake-
less.
Re-
gal one.


trans Michael Hamburger

3 comments:

antonia said...

Hamburger is really the best translator, also for Hoelderlin. If you are still into that German-learning project, in case i can be of help, just ask.

Roxana Ghita said...

thank you for stopping by and comment my pictures :-)
it is weird, I was in the middle of some research on colours, also in an alchemical context - and then found your Celan here, so striking. there are some beautiful poems by him in romanian, but I don't know of any translation...

swiss said...

the german is progressing slowly but surely. the problem is not getting the dictionary meaning of the words but how they feel