Translating Paul Celan
Nothing is as it seems, but buds on the trellis are the colour
of wine. Crocus bowls brim with fresh snow
Not even the jay’s scream of I told you so can reach
the hand’s pressure on the open book beside the lamp
Learn to exchange advice for the words that stay near
the edge of the fear they escaped. Pigeon-dance of joy
Remember you’re only a visitor; no word you unpack will be
the golem, no angel will step through the smoke far off
The second-longest poem has long since grown
used to doing what it must. The room turns colder
After the last word has left listen for the quiet
rap on the door, for the stranger to wait outside
Published online September 01 2012.
Leonard Neufeldt is the author of six books of poetry. His poems have also appeared in numerous anthologies and major literary journals and magazines throughout Canada and the U.S. Several of his poems have been read on the CBC, National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System. He hails from Yarrow, British Columbia and has spent his adult years in Canada, the U.S. and abroad.