||[Jul. 14th, 2013|11:59 pm]
I am falling, but no, I only nodded off and felt the couch drop from under me, but startled awake found it still there. Nothing fell but signals in my brain. Those were quite enough. But suppose I were to fall or things were to drop from under me, where would I be then but where I have been in my misguided synapses? The solid world itself floats, so why should its contents not be unstable? All day's heated air flowed about me, and now night's cooler air does the same. |
My thoughts can't be stilled any more than the air, and they have even less of substance. Though insubstantial, they are stuck in things, and partake of thingly decay. Maybe when I sleep unstartled the things let go, but when I wake the things don't remember, or don't let me know they do. I am always forgetting, and then forgetting that I have forgotten, but then feel the air move and remember that I have felt it so before. Without reminders I might forget to know I am, and then would not know what fell, or even what felt as though it had fallen. So the things remind me that I am a thing, and the thoughts in things continue. Then here they are, word-bound, being reminders. How vague they are, falling all over themselves.
(Speak, you also...)
by Paul Celan
Speak, you also,
speak as the last,
have your say.
But keep yes and no unsplit.
And give your say this meaning:
give it the shade.
Give it shade enough,
give it as much
as you know has been dealt out between
midnight and midday and midnight.
look how it all leaps alive -
where death is! Alive!
He speaks truly who speaks the shade.
But now shrinks the place where you stand:
Where now, stripped by shade, will you go?
Upward. Grope your way up.
Thinner you grow, less knowable, finer.
Finer: a thread by which
it wants to be lowered, the star:
to float farther down, down below
where it sees itself gleam: in the swell
of wandering words.
That sense of startling awake is kind of awful. Very disorienting. I'm glad you were still on the couch!
Interesting poem. I'll go look for it in French to compare. [Well, heck, it wasn't in French, but German. OK, I'll read that. *g*]
Edited at 2013-07-17 02:14 am (UTC)
His name does sound French, but he was a German-speaking Jew from Romania. Celan is an anagram of Ancel, the Romanian spelling of his birth name, Antschel. He continued to write in German even though he lived in Paris for more than twenty years and became a French citizen in 1955.
Aha! How interesting. I did attempt to read the poem in German and found that it sounded better (at least in my head), though I only know a few words. Wonder why he never wrote in Romanian or French.
Celan's mother was fond of of German literature, and insisted that her family speak German at home. He was fluent in a number of languages, though, and translated Russian and English texts (including some of Shakespeare's sonnets) into German.