Poem to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Paul Celan
Josef Bordat, Germany
Autumn eats its leaf out of my hand: we are friends.
We shell time from the nuts and teach it to walk:
time returns to the shell.
In the mirror is Sunday,
in the dream we sleep,
the mouth speaks true.
My eye goes down to my lover’s sex:
we gaze at each other,
we speak of dark things,
we love each other like poppy and memory,
we sleep like wine in the seashells,
like the sea in the moon’s blood-beam.
We stand and embrace at the window, they watch us from the street:
it is time, for this to be known!
It is time that the stone took the trouble to bloom,
that unrest’s heart started to beat.
It’s time for it to be time.
It is time.
Paul Celan, Czernowitz-Paris,1920-1979
Translated by Pierre Joris
from “Paul Celan, Memory Rose into Threshold Speech: The Collected Earlier Poetry translated by Pierre Joris & with commentaries by Pierre Joris & Barbara Wiedemann (FSG, November 2020).