Skip to Content

Share

Four New Translations of Paul Celan

By
April 22, 2007

I HEAR THE AXE HAS FLOWERED,

I hear the place can’t be named,

I hear the bread that looks on him

heals the hanged man,

the bread his wife baked him,

I hear they call life

the only refuge.

 

 

WITH A FIELDMOUSE VOICE

you squeak up,

a sharp

clamp,

you bite through my vest into flesh,

a cloth,

you slip over my mouth,

even as my talk

would weigh you, shadow,

down.

 

 

IN LIZARD

skins, Epi-

leptic,

I bed you, on the sills,

the gable

holes

infill us, with lightsoil.

 

 

SNOW PART, pitched, to the last,

in the updraught, before

for ever unwindowed

huts:

to skim flat dreams

over

fretted ice;

to hew out the word-

shadows, to cord them

round the cramp-iron

in the pit.

G

 

Paul Celan was born in Romania in 1920. He authorized the publication of seven poetry collections before committing suicide in 1970. These four poems are from Schneepart * (Snow Part), considered to be his last book. Although Celan did not authorize its publication, *Schneepart * was included in the 1983 edition of his *Gesmmelte Werke (Collected Works). This forthcoming edition by The Sheep Meadow Press marks the first edition of Schneepart in English.

Ian Fairley works as a teacher and counsellor in Leeds, England.

Readers like you make Guernica possible. Please show your support.

Tagged with:

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterAdd to BufferShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrSubmit to StumbleUpon
Submit to redditShare on App.netShare via email