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Saturday, November 23, 2019

The Work of Truthful Hands

“Only truthful hands write true poems. I cannot see any basic difference between a handshake and a poem.” – Paul Celan

Born in Romania on this date in 1920, Paul Antschel, who wrote under the pseudonym Paul Celan, was the son of German-speaking Jews, who grew up speaking several languages, including Romanian, Russian, and French. He also understood Yiddish.
    Celan was one of the foremost translators and authors of post-World War II poetry and is regarded as one of the most important poets of the post-war era.   For Saturday’s Poem, here is Celan’s,

                                                Count The Almonds
Count the Almonds,
count, what was bitter, watched for you,
count me in:

I sought your Eye, as it opened and no one announced
I spun that hidden Thread,
on which the Dew, of your thought,
slid down to the Pitchers,
that a Speech, which no one’s Heart found, guarded.

Only there did you enter wholly the Name, that is yours,
stepping sure-footedly into yourself,
the Hammers swung free in the Bell-Cradle of Silences,
the Listened-For reached you,
the Dead put its arm round you too,
and the three of you walked through the Evening.

Make me bitter.
Count me among the Almonds.

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