Paul Celan

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

In Front Of A Candle - Poem by Paul Celan

I formed the holder of gold,
as you told me to mother,
gold, out of which She comes,
a shade, to me, in the middle
of fracturing hours,
your
being-dead’s daughter.

Slender in shape,
a thin, almond-eyed shadow,
her mouth and her sex
danced round by creatures from sleep,
out of the cave of the gold,
she rises up,
to the summit of Now.

With night-dark-shrouded
lips,
I speak the Prayer:

In the name of the Three
who fight with each other, until
heaven reaches down into the graveyard of feeling,
in the name of the Three, whose rings
gleam on my finger, whenever
I loose the hair of the trees into the abyss,
so that the richer floods rush down through the deeps-



in the name of the first of the Three
who shrieked,
when he was called on to live,
where his word went before him,
in the name of the second, who watched it and wept,
in the name of the third, who piles
white stones in the middle –
I say you are free
of the amen that overpowers us,
of the ice-filled light at its rim,
there, where tower-high it enters the sea,
there, where the grey one, the dove
picks at the names
this side and that side of dying:
You still, you still, you still,
a dead woman’s child,
sealed to the No of my yearning,
wedded to a cleft in time
to which the mother-word led me,
so that a single spasm
would pass through the hand
that now, and now, grasps at my heart!


Comments about In Front Of A Candle by Paul Celan

  • Fabrizio Frosini (10/16/2015 12:39:00 PM)


    ''almond-eyed shadow'':
    Celan uses the synonym of bitter almonds for the Jews and referring to the custom of eating a bitter food at the Passover - Pesach - table, elsewhere says ‘Make me bitter, count me among the almonds.’
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Read poems about / on: daughter, mother, woman, child, hair, sleep, heaven, sea, dark, light, night, women, wedding, tree, rose, children, dance



Poem Submitted: Saturday, January 25, 2003



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