Paul Celan

(23 November 1920 - 20 April 1970 / (Cernăuţi, Bukovin) Chernivtsi, Ukraine)

Corona - Poem by Paul Celan

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.

Translated by Michael Hamburger

Comments about Corona by Paul Celan

  • Fabrizio Frosini (5/20/2015 9:59:00 AM)

    but read my comments * [ '' PSALM '' ]

    '' Hamburger’s translations are more definite. [..]
    no one translation will ever be adequate enough. [..]
    A reader wishing to fully intake Celan’s words in English must become a comparative reader, a critical reader, and most importantly a reader who understands that perhaps one of Celan’s most discomforting elements is that he didn’t always wish to be understood. ''

    * [Goodrich, J., Rhyme or Reason? : Successfully Translating the Poetry of Paul Celan,2008]
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  • Fabrizio Frosini (5/19/2015 2:23:00 AM)

    I prefer this translation:


    Out of my hand autumn eats its leaf: we are friends.
    We shell time from the nuts and teach it to walk;
    time goes back into its shell.

    In the mirror it is Sunday,
    in the dream there is sleeping,
    the mouth speaks the truth.

    My eye descends to the sex of my loved one:
    we look at each other,
    we whisper darkness to each other,
    we love each other like poppy and memory,
    we sleep like wine in the sea shells,
    like the sea in the ray of blood of the moon.

    We stand entwined in the window, they watch us from the street:
    it is time the people knew.
    It is time that the stone condescended to bloom,
    that unrest inspired a heart to beat.
    It is time that it became time.

    It is time.

    © 1995, Vivian Smith
    From: New Selected Poems
    Publisher: Angus & Robertson, Sydney,1995
    ISBN: 0 207 186316
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  • Fabrizio Frosini (5/18/2015 8:02:00 AM)

    in German - original version:


    Aus der Hand frißt der Herbst mir sein Blatt: wir sind Freunde.
    Wir schälen die Zeit aus den Nüssen und lehren sie gehn:
    die Zeit kehrt zurück in die Schale.

    Im Spiegel ist Sonntag,
    im Traum wird geschlafen,
    der Mund redet wahr.

    Mein Aug steigt hinab zum Geschlecht der Geliebten:
    wir sehen uns an,
    wir sagen uns Dunkles,
    wir lieben einander wie Mohn und Gedächtnis,
    wir schlafen wie Wein in den Muscheln,
    wie das Meer im Blutstrahl des Mondes.

    Wir stehen umschlungen im Fenster, sie sehen uns zu von der Straße:
    es ist Zeit, daß man weiß!
    Es ist Zeit, daß der Stein sich zu blühen bequemt,
    daß der Unrast ein Herz schlägt.
    Es ist Zeit, daß es Zeit wird.

    Es ist Zeit.

    Paul Celan (b.23 November 1920)
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Read poems about / on: mirror, flower, truth, moon, dream, sleep, time, people, sea, dark, heart, friend

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Poem Edited: Wednesday, November 23, 2011

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