Un/split

Here’s one more by Celan. I hope this qualifies as “fair use.” I give it in its entirety because it may well serve as the motto for this whole exercise, and because I am hoping that maybe one or two people who are NOT lit-crit types or L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E school elitists will feel inspired to seek out Celan’s work.

Speak, You Also

Speak, you also,
speak as the last,
have your say.

Speak —
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 around:
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.

(Hamburger, Poems of Paul Celan, 101.)

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