Skip to content
Give readers a window on the world. Click to donate.
from the March 2005 issue

Poem for Marianne’s Shadow

Love's mint has grown like an angel's finger.

To believe: out of the earth an arm twisted by silence still rises,
a shoulder burned by torrid extinguished lights,
a face, the eyes blindfolded by sight's black veil,
a large wing of lead and another one of leaves,
a body, weary in the repose washed by the waters.

To see how it floats among grasses with spread out wings,
how it climbs a mistletoe ladder to a glass house,
where with very large steps a sea plant roams.

To think it's the right moment now to talk to me in tears,
to go barefoot there, so you be told what's in store for us:
the mourning sipped from a glass or the mourning sipped from a palm-
And the mad plant to fall asleep having heard your answer.

Clinking in the dark, let the house's windows ring,
telling each other what they know, but without finding out:
we love or we do not love each other.

(written sometime between 1945 and 1947)

From Paul Celan: Frühwerk (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1988). By arrangement with the publisher. Translation copyright 2005 by Victor Pambuccian. All rights reserved.

Read more from the March 2005 issue
Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world.