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Best Famous Paul Celan Poems

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by Paul Celan | |

Twelve Years

 The line
that remained, that
became true: .
.
.
your house in Paris -- become the alterpiece of your hands.
Breathed through thrice, shone through thrice.
.
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.
.
.
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.
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.
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It's turning dumb, turning deaf behind our eyes.
I see the poison flower in all manner of words and shapes.
Go.
Come.
Love blots out its name: to you it ascribes itself.
Tr.
Michael Hamburger


by Paul Celan | |

Cologne

 In Kohln, a town of monks and bones,
And pavements fang'd with murderous stones
And rags, and hags, and hideous wenches;
I counted two and seventy stenches,
All well defined, and several stinks!
Ye Nymphs that reign o'er sewers and sinks,
The river Rhine, it is well known,
Doth wash your city of Cologne;
 But tell me, Nymphs, what power divine
 Shall henceforth wash the river Rhine?


by Paul Celan | |

Corona

 Autunm eats its leaf out of my hand: we are friends.
From the nuts we shell time and we teach it to walk: then time returns to the shell.
In the mirror it's Sunday, in dream there is room for sleeping, our mouths speak the truth.
My eye moves down to the sex of my loved one: we look at each other, we exchange dark words, we love each other like poppy and recollection, we sleep like wine in the conches, like the sea in the moon's blood ray.
We stand by the window embracing, and people look up from the street: it is time they knew! It is time the stone made an effort to flower, time unrest had a beating heart.
It is time it were time.
It is time.


by Paul Celan | |

Night Ray

 Most brightly of all burned the hair of my evening loved one:
to her I send the coffin of lightest wood.
Waves billow round it as round the bed of our dream in Rome; it wears a white wig as I do and speaks hoarsely: it talks as I do when I grant admittance to hearts.
It knows a French song about love, I sang it in autumn when I stopped as a tourist in Lateland and wrote my letters to morning.
A fine boat is that coffin carved in the coppice of feelings.
I too drift in it downbloodstream, younger still than your eye.
Now you are young as a bird dropped dead in March snow, now it comes to you, sings you its love song from France.
You are light: you will sleep through my spring till it's over.
I am lighter: in front of strangers I sing.


by Paul Celan | |

The Triumph Of Achilles

 In the story of Patroclus
no one survives, not even Achilles
who was nearly a god.
Patroclus resembled him; they wore the same armor.
Always in these friendships one serves the other, one is less than the other: the hierarchy is always apparant, though the legends cannot be trusted-- their source is the survivor, the one who has been abandoned.
What were the Greek ships on fire compared to this loss? In his tent, Achilles grieved with his whole being and the gods saw he was a man already dead, a victim of the part that loved, the part that was mortal.


by Paul Celan | |

Crystal

 not on my lips look for your mouth,
not in front of the gate for the stranger,
not in the eye for the tear.
seven nights higher red makes for red, seven hearts deeper the hand knocks on the gate, seven roses later plashes the fountain.


by Paul Celan | |

Landscape

 tall poplars -- human beings of this earth!
black pounds of happiness -- you mirror them to death!

I saw you, sister, stand in that effulgence.


by Paul Celan | |

Twelve Years

 The line
that remained, that
became true: .
.
.
your house in Paris -- become the alterpiece of your hands.
Breathed through thrice, shone through thrice.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
It's turning dumb, turning deaf behind our eyes.
I see the poison flower in all manner of words and shapes.
Go.
Come.
Love blots out its name: to you it ascribes itself.
Tr.
Michael Hamburger


by Paul Celan | |

This Evening Also

 more fully,
since snow fell even on this
sun-drifted, sun-drenched sea,
blossoms the ice in those baskets
you carry into town.
sand you demand in return, for the last rose back at home this evening also wants to be fed out of the trickling hour.