and baled the darkness empty...

Paul Celan


The stone.
The stone in the air, which I followed.
Your eye, as blind as the stone.

We were
we baled the darkness empty, we found
the word that ascended summer:

Flower - a blind man's word.
Your eye and mine:
they see
to water.

Heart wall upon heart wall
adds petals to it.

One more word like this, and the hammers
will swing over open ground.

(Trans. Michael Hamburger)


Any comment from me would fall flat. I remain silent.


LKD said...

You know, Sam, I came back and came back and came back to this poem. I couldn't make sense of it, yet I felt I owned it. The darkness, baled, the directness of the line "we were hands" really unsettled me. I kept walking away from it, turning my head from the poem, only to find myself right back in it.

I don't know if it has anything to do with my father. At times, I feel like even though I don't ever try to consciously, intentionally write about him anymore, seeing as how I've written enough dead dad poems to fill several book, he still invades my words. But the stone, that stone that Celan called blind, that stone that I felt was all-seeing, a very clear-eyed rock, was not unlike the clot that floated up from my father's heart, blocked the blood flow to his brain and ultimately killed him.

I don't know if darkness can be gathered. I keep thinking about the night of his stroke, about how he stood up only to fall down, about how he didn't even put his hands out to break the fall (his glasses were broken, his cheek was bruised, he hit the floor with his face). I keep thinking that in the moment right before all the lights went out for him, how maybe the kitchen, the house, life itself, had never seemed so bright. Maybe the darkness was baled in that moment.

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

Thanks for the read Laurel. I appreciate your comments.