Paul Celan

(Cernăuţi, Bukovin) Chernivtsi, Ukraine
Paul Celan
(Cernăuţi, Bukovin) Chernivtsi, Ukraine
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Psalm

Rating: 3.8
No-man kneads us again out of Earth and Loam,
no-man spirits our Dust.
No-man.

Praise to you, No-man.
For love of you
we will flower.
Moving
towards you.
A Nothing
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COMMENTS
Jozef Neumann 05 May 2016
Though we are weak These words still are powerful
0 0 Reply
Fabrizio Frosini 20 May 2015
Here is the translation by John Felstiner (W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.,2001) : PSALM No one kneads us again out of earth and clay, no one incants our dust. No one. Blessèd art thou, No One. In thy sight would we bloom. In thy spite. A Nothing we were, are now, and ever shall be, blooming: the Nothing-, the No-One's-Rose. With our pistil soul-bright, our stamen heaven-waste, our corona red from the purpleword we sang over, O over the thorn.
69 0 Reply
Fabrizio Frosini 20 May 2015
Celan uses a word in his ''Psalm'' that ultimately varies with translations. In ''Niemand knetet uns wieder aus Erde und Lehm'' Felstiner and Hamburger translate the word ''knetet'' differently. Felstiner sticks to the more denotative definition of 'kneten': to knead or to pound. He translates that ''No one kneads us again out of earth and clay'', where 'kneads' suggests that 'no one' shows no sign of concern or affinity for the subject ''us''. Kneading is an act of haphazard physical force, with no careful measures taken to truly appreciate the earth and clay from which the ''us'' takes form. Hamburger, however, translates 'knetet' as 'moulds' and writes 'No one moulds us again out of earth and clay.'. Though 'moulds' and 'kneads' don’t seem to differ greatly in meaning on the surface, Hamburger’s moulds lends familiarity and suggests a personal connection to, paradoxically, ''no one''. Much as a potter would dedicate himself to molding a unique piece of clay, a sense of creation and production is implied with 'moulds', and the care taken in the process of molding undoubtedly inspires pride and ownership. Continuing beyond the first line of the poem, this translation instills a feeling of failed recreation or rebirth from the very beginning. If success comes with discomfort, then the discomfort lies in Hamburger’s ''moulds'' and the contradictory familiarity created in the opening line and the overwhelming apathy created later. It makes too much sense that the ''No One'' would give little concern to kneading a dusty piece of clay in Felstiner’s translation. Hamburger uses the act of molding to connect ''no one'' to ''us'' only to widen a gap of desperate acceptance between them later in the poem. [Goodrich, J., Rhyme or Reason? : Successfully Translating the Poetry of Paul Celan,2008]
84 0 Reply
Fabrizio Frosini 20 May 2015
'' Rich in historical and religious references, Celan’s Psalm philosophically questions the meaning of human suffering without explicitly mentioning the Holocaust. ''
78 0 Reply
Fabrizio Frosini 21 April 2015
who was the translator from the original German text? : ( This is a much better translation [by John Felstiner -W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.,2001]: No one kneads us again out of earth and clay, no one incants our dust. No one. Blessèd art thou, No One. In thy sight would we bloom. In thy spite. A Nothing we were, are now, and ever shall be, blooming: the Nothing-, the No-One's-Rose. With our pistil soul-bright, our stamen heaven-waste, our corona red from the purpleword we sang over, O over the thorn.
37 0 Reply
* Sunprincess * 21 June 2014
............out of earth and loam is a good thought....although I must look up the word loam....enjoyed...
1 0 Reply
Miroslava Odalovic 21 June 2013
I am so happy to see the master of words listed in the poems of the day section. Even though I would have expected a somewhat more representative lines such as those of The Death Fugue. Still good to stop by and focus on his genius.
3 0 Reply
Tim Stensloff 21 June 2012
Very vivid and simple and excellent and all things.
3 1 Reply

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