Paul Celan

(Cernăuţi, Bukovin) Chernivtsi, Ukraine
Paul Celan
(Cernăuţi, Bukovin) Chernivtsi, Ukraine
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Death Fugue

Rating: 4.0
Black milk of daybreak we drink it at sundown
we drink it at noon in the morning we drink it at night
we drink it and drink it
we dig a grave in the breezes there one lies unconfined
A man lives in the house he plays with the serpents
he writes
he writes when dusk falls to Germany your golden
hair Margarete
he writes it and steps out of doors and the stars are
flashing he whistles his pack out
he whistles his Jews out in earth has them dig for a
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COMMENTS
Fabrizio Frosini 10 December 2017
1. on the Holocaust theme, a poem by Barbara Sonek: Holocaust We played, we laughed we were loved. We were ripped from the arms of our parents and thrown into the fire. We were nothing more than children.
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Fabrizio Frosini 10 December 2017
2. We had a future. We were going to be lawyers, rabbis, wives, teachers, mothers. We had dreams, then we had no hope. We were taken away in the dead of night like cattle in cars, no air to breathe smothering, crying, starving, dying. Separated from the world to be no more. From the ashes, hear our plea. This atrocity to mankind can not happen again. Remember us, for we were the children whose dreams and lives were stolen away. (Barbara Sonek)
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Bernard F. Asuncion 06 December 2017
Such an interesting write by Paul Celan as translated by Michael Hamburger??????
2 1 Reply
Edward Kofi Louis 06 December 2017
Black milk! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
1 1 Reply
D Priyanka Singh 06 December 2017
we dig a grave in the breezes there one lies unconfined Beautiful poem shared. 10
1 0 Reply
Deepak Kumar Pattanayak 06 December 2017
This fiery composition is followed by a four-voiced real fugue as the grave which has been dug by the Jews, must be theirs and they are likely to be comforted with it lying there free and liberated........very profound and somewhat abstruse........thanks for sharing
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Fabrizio Frosini 25 February 2016
Celan's Todesfuge should be revered by all those who call themselves 'poets' and by all those who have a heart still capable to quiver!
58 1 Reply
Fabrizio Frosini 20 May 2015
Deathfugue '' Hamburger’s translation of ''man'' into ''one'' provides an uncomfortable answer to this question. By differentiating the ''one'' from the ''you'' early in the poem, Hamburger makes it even more clear in the latter parts of the poem that there is a distinction between what could happen to anyone versus what is happening to the we, the speakers, the labor camp prisoners. ''Then a grave you will have in the clouds'' Hamburger translates, the ''you'' spoken to the Jews by the camp guard, ''there one lies unconfined''. A crucial placement of ''one'' Hamburger creates a distance between the grave that ''you'' are digging and the instruction that anyone can lie in it, unconfined. This leaves room in the sky not only for the Jewish prisoners who are digging the grave —their grave— but for the guard, for his serpents, for Margarete, for Shulamith, for Celan, for his readers. Because the grave has been dug by the Jews, with day after day of forced labor, then it should belong to the Jews, and they should find the comfort of lying there no longer chained, imprisoned, or confined. However, the discomfort rooted so deeply in this ''one'' little word is that Hamburger suggests they might inevitably share this grave, this death, with those experiencing the Holocaust opposing them, whether through action or through written word. Uncomfortably, unconventionally, Hamburger lets ''der Mann'' lie beside ''seine Juden'' even in the afterlife. '' [Goodrich, J., Rhyme or Reason? : Successfully Translating the Poetry of Paul Celan,2008]
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Fabrizio Frosini 20 May 2015
Deathfugue In Celan’s ''Todesfuge'', Celan presents his readers in his opening two lines with four different times of the day. A reader understands that this 'black milk' is forcefully constant yet darkly discomforting, and its repetition scores the image of black milk into nearly every stanza. Though they might come across as merely subtle differences, the translations of these pairs —''evening'' and ''midday''; ''sundown'' and ''noon''— structure the time and place around which the poem centers. Felstiner’s translations suggest general times. Evening and midday blend ranges of hours together, without specificity. Oppositely, Hamburger’s translations are more definite. His ''sundown'' and ''noon'' provide exact times in the day in which ''we'' drink the black milk, almost like clockwork. Rather than the hours that pass through the evening, Hamburger’s ''we'' drinks the black milk at precisely sundown; rather than the hours surrounding midday, Hamburger’s ''we'' drinks the black milk at precisely noon. The rigidity, the exactness, of Hamburger’s word choices hint at the structure present in the camp system —the wake up call, the evening roll call, and the slim rationings of food at specific times during the day— and therefore offer the reader a more uncomfortable, somewhat tangible sense of the activities of the camp and of the Jewish experiences there. [Goodrich, J., Rhyme or Reason? : Successfully Translating the Poetry of Paul Celan,2008]
124 0 Reply
Fabrizio Frosini 20 May 2015
''Todesfuge'' is an 'expression born of the poet’s experience of the crisis of language, the imminence of silence, and the magic of the word' (Weimar 94)
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