Speak, You Too | Paul Celan, 1920-70

Paul Celan

Speak, you too,
speak as the last one,
have your say.

Speak —
But do not separate the no from the yes.
Give your saying also meaning:
give it its shadow.

Give it enough shadow,
give it as much
as you know to be parceled out between
midnight and midday and midnight.

Look around:
see how alive it gets all around —
At death! Alive!
Speaks true, who speaks shadows.

But now the place shrinks, on which you stand
Whereto now, shadow-stripped one, whereto?
Climb. Feel yourself upwards.
Thinner you become, unrecognizable, finer!

Finer: a fathom
along which it wants to descend, the star:
to swim down below, below
where he sees himself swimming: in the swell
of wandering words.

Paul Celan, 1920-70


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