Zwischen zwei Nchten

I Ich stie in meiner Kammer die scharfe Schaufel tief. Es war ein Wind vorm Hause. Der Regen str mte schief. ii Ich h hlt die neue Kammer tief in der Erde aus. Es str mt der schiefe Regen. Es war der Wind vorm iii 5 Ich warf hinaus zum Fenster was ich gegraben hier. Schwarz war die Erde, blau war der Schleier ber ihr. iv Das Erdreich vor dem Fenster-wie es gewachsen ist Der Berg der Welt und oben weinet Herr Jesus Christ. v Ich grub, da brach die Schaufel. Sie stie auf harten 10 Es war Gott...

The Beginnings Part I

The three oldest Celan poems known to us to date are Im Park (15), Wunsch (13), and Legende (20). This chronological order is the sole selection criterion for this and the following study. In contrast to many other early poems, these are rhymeless. No inferences can be drawn from this other than those on which Wiedemann-Wolf (157-64) dwells. All three allude or explicitly refer to blood, but the function of this motif differs importantly from one poem to the next. Their respective thirteen,...

Studies in His Early Poetry

Der Traum vom Traume. Mit 30 Abbildungen und einer Vorbemerkung von Otto Basil. Wien, Agathon 1948. The paper on which this book is printed meets the requirements of ISO 9706 1994, Information and documentation - Paper for documents -Requirements for permanence. Editions Rodopi B.V., Amsterdam - New York, NY 2008 Printed in The Netherlands

Lob der Ferne 207

Almost every image in this poem is oxymoronic, inverted, or put on its head. In a composition dealing with the problem of writing poetry, the hanged man, the speaker, 'strangles' what is strangling him, that is, the endeavor to find adequate words (see p. 196). The w rgen motif has thus become totally abstracted and metaphorical. To be sure, P ggeler (1986 65), for one, puts it quite differently Lob der Ferne spricht von einer Liebe, die eine bestrickende Verf hrung ist. Perhaps, however, we...

Im Park

Der See, die B ume, der Kahn die Kreise im Wasser 5 schimmerts vorbei an der Weide ein M dchen, das eilt. iii Der einzige Schwan kommt vor ber. iv Wie, wenn ein zitternder Stern 10 sich sch lte aus seinem Feuer und fiel' in den See In die Wasserrose Nacht. It stands there, without the benefit of a sentence, seemingly without the benefit of a moon. Because of its pride of place, its consequence is unassailable it literally domes everything. It does not merit a line by itself, however, but must...

Prinzessin Nimmermd

Xiv 27 Da dort ein gelbes Sternlein fiel Was wei mein Herz f r buntes Spiel The fifteen couplets of this poem seem to constitute someone's speech that received its impetus from someone else's ballad. Though not disjointed (the closing couplet is identical to the first, and all but one of the even-numbered couplets begins with a 'D'), there is no development, no story, beyond the speaker's attempts to dragoon Nimmerm d into a party for two. While trying to overcome her trepidations and to cajole...

Ballade

Ihr Stern taucht tiefer in die Flut . This time the verb does not quite accommodate the notion that we are dealing with a falling star. In a poem in which ein blauer K nig ein wei es Wild f r die letzte der K niginnen sucht , the passage may suggest instead that the deer, alerted to danger by the hunter's call that has just been mentioned, look up and then lower their heads again. In doing so they see 'their star' as though receding into the mirroring water. This detail might simply denote the...

Aequinoctium 127

Und in den N chten, s vom Herbstgestirn, wird mein Herz st rzen, deines aber schweben dein Weg sich kl ren, meiner sich verwirrn, mein Aug verl schen, deines sich beleben ii 5 die Bl te trocknen und die Wurzel bl hn der Berg sich auftun and die Schlucht sich schlie en, ein Arm versagen, einer sich bem hn, ein Ma sich leeren, eines berflie en iii mein Traum versickern und dein Traum sich stauen, 10 die Tr ne reden und die Tr ne schweigen, mein Blut nicht glauben und dein Blut vertraun, mein Mund...

Espenbaum 165

Iv 7 Runder Stern, du schlingst die goldne Schleife. Meiner Mutter Herz ward wund von Blei. As will become evident in the forthcoming discussion of this poem (pp. 140 ff.), we take the star to be a comet, and a specific one at that. It is a killer. As already suggested, the final line of Im Park, if read as a possible 'epic' event, may connote suffocation. To be sure, Celan forgoes the use of w rgen in this poem, perhaps because for the average reader it is not a term that suits traditional...

Am Brunnen 117

Ii 5 Wie dir das Blut, wenn Sterne es befielen, ward mir die Schulter einsam, weil sie trug. Situated in a setting of which the components are in part derived from the lore of Antiquity, these lines involve the dead mother as well. The star motif comes with negative connotations and seems to recall a line in Trakl's Winternacht (I 128) Ein wei es Sternenhemd verbrennt die tragenden Schultern. Celan adopted additional motifs from this poem. Granted, it may mean little that Trakl's beginning...

The Beginnings Part II

The discussions in this study are intended to be as free of ideological boxes (Rolleston 260) as the one of Im Park was meant to be. wohnt wohl ein Maulwurf oder ein Zwerg oder nur Erde It is not only alliterations involving 'w' and 'b' in the first and second strophes respectively and the anaphoric oder that hold the various statements together. What the speaker does not say but wants us to realize lends coherence of a conceptual kind each of the entities on which the first strophe focuses is...

Celans Early Years

Paul, the son of Leo and Friederike Antschel, was born on November 23, 1920, in Czernowitz, the capital of Bukowina, which had been the eastern outreach of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire until, after the fall of the Habsburg monarchy in 1918, it became part of Romania. Czernowitz was a polyglot town its main languages were German, Romanian, Ukrainian, and Yiddish. Almost half of its 110,000 inhabitants were Jews. Finding no opportunity to be active as a trained construction technician, Leo...

Der Sandmann

Ii 7 Ihr wi t nicht, wie hart meine Fahrt war, und wieviele Sterne fielen Denoting the single addressee, apparently a child, ihr and euch lend an archaic flavor to this poem, in which the sandman of nursery talk is the bringer of death. Like Goethe's Erlk nig, he seeks to lure, but there is something hasty, hence disquieting in his rhythms and cadences, and there is a touch of mystery in the simile involving the wind of the night i 1 Stille ich komm wie der Nachtwind kommt auf den Regenschn...