One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Monday, June 6, 2011

Paul Celan: "Zurich, at the Stork"

Wasn't sure what to post today, if anything. Then I thought of this poem by Paul Celan (he is certainly one of my faves).

What does it mean? Or what does it mean to me? Having read most of his poems, and the letters between him and Sachs, what I'm thinking is "of two minds re faith, hope, etc."

I always (usually) try to see that gold coming across the water.


ZURICH, AT THE STORK 
(for Nelly Sachs)
Our talk was of Too Much, of
Too Little. Of Thou
and Yet-Thou, of
clouding through brightness, of
Jewishness, of
your God.

Of
that.
On the day of an ascension, the
Minster stood over there, it came
with some gold across the water.

Our talk was of your God, I spoke
against him, I let the heart
I had
hope:
for
his highest, death-rattled, his
wrangling word—

Your eye looked at me, looked away,
your mouth
spoke toward the eye, I heard:

We
really don’t know, you know,
we
really don’t know
what
counts.


(translation by John Felstiner in Selected Poems and Prose of Paul Celan)
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