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

Saturday, February 18, 2012

TÜBINGEN, JANUARY by Paul Celan

TÜBINGEN, JANUARY
Eyes talked in-
to blindness.
Their  -- "a
riddle, what is pure-
ly arisen" --, their
memory of
floating Hölderlintowers, gull-
enswirled.

Visits of drowned joiners to
these
plunging words:

Came, if there
came a man,
came a man to the world, today, with
the patriarchs'
light-beard: he could,
if he spoke of this
time, he
could
only babble and babble,
ever- ever-
moremore.

("Pallaksch. Pallaksch.")*



*Pallaksch A word that Hölderlin, spending his last years in the home of a Tübingen carpenter, was given to uttering in his dementia; it could signify Yes or No.


[Poem Translated by John Felstiner; the explanation of Pallaksch is also from his "Notes" in Selected Poems and Prose of Paul Celan] 






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