Nelly Sachs - O The Chimneys

Формат документа: pdf
Размер документа: 4.12 Мб




Прямая ссылка будет доступна
примерно через: 45 сек.



  • Сообщить о нарушении / Abuse
    Все документы на сайте взяты из открытых источников, которые размещаются пользователями. Приносим свои глубочайшие извинения, если Ваш документ был опубликован без Вашего на то согласия.

0
The Chimneys

Translated
from the German by
MI CHAEL HAMBURGER
CHRISTOPHER HOLME
RU TH and MATTHEW MEAD
MI CHAEL ROLOFF

NELLY
SACHS
0 THE CHIMNEYS
Selected Poems� including
the verse play� ELI
FARRAR, STRAUS AND GIROUX ·New York

Copyright © 1967 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Inc.
Library of Congress catalog card numb� 67-27518
All rights reserved
Print�Z in the United States of America
b y American Book-Stratford Press, Inc.
Publ ished simultaneously in Canada
by Ambassador Books, Ltd., Rexdale, Ontario
FIRST PRINTING, 1967
Designed by Herb johnson
Selected from Fahrt ins Staublose © Suhrkamp Verlag,
Frankfurt am Main, zg6z; Zeichen im Sand © Suh rkamp
V�~Kg , Frankfurt a m Main zg62; and Spate Gedichte,
Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1965.
Grateful acknowl�Zg[ is made to the editors of Harp er's
Magazine, Mademoiselle, and Book Week, in whose pages
s om e of the poems have app�K^Z and to the editors of The
New Yorker, in whose p ag� the following poems have been
published: "When day grow s empty," "Agony," "Chorus
of th� Unborn," "Earth, old man of the pla n ets ," "And we
who move," "La11dscape of screams," "How many drowned
ages," "The sleepwalker," "You in the night," a11d "Vainly."

Introduction
BY Hans Magnus Enzensberger
The oeuvre of Ne lly Sachs is gr eat and mysteri ous, two
at tri butes that literary criticism has few occasions to apply
to poet ry these days. They are archaic attributes ; let us
define their meaning. Greatness has nothing to do with
tal ent, and little to do with the bour geois concept of gen ius
that makes the crea tor uni que among men and seeks to
pl ace him in the real m of the incomparable. The poet as
s uper man, intell ectual prince, Olympian , Titan belo nged
t o the repertoire of the nineteenth century and passed
away with it. Greatness has a more ancien t he ritag e ; it can
be unobt rusive ; it can neit her be earn ed n or rewarded,
least of all with the priz es our society is in a p osit ion to
best ow: with success or "na me." Greatness remains alien in
the worl d, and the worl d cannot make better sens e of it
than in terms of fame, which itsel f is an archaic and almost
ob sol ete respo nse. Fame, quiet fame, has come to Ne lly Sachs
in recen t years, late and unexpectedly . But as much as
gre atness is a mark of the person and not only of the work,
one hesitates to claim greatn ess excl usively for her: on the
co ntrary, her greatness is repres entative . It stands for othe rs
and their cause; out of her speaks more than hersel f. That
cause remains inde term inate and namel ess, however. And
this inde term inateness has something to do with the mystery
of her work , which is always, in Goe the's word s, a manif est
secre t and not compara ble to mystifica tion or mu rky
profu ndity.
The poems of Nel ly Sachs are of this character : hard, but
tr ansparent. They do not dissolve in the weak solution of
v

in
terpr e tations. Nor, at first, are they easy to read. One
is in the hab it of say ing, usua lly as a repr oach, about all of
moder n po etry that it is di ffic u�t , as tho ugh this
we re a foreg one concl usio n; as if it were up to the authors
to expre ss them selves a �2t tle mo re obl iging ly. On this
acc ount it is often forgotten whe re the difficu lty real ly lies.
\V ith Ne lly Sachs the diffi cul ty is ne ver of a techn ical nature;
she neither means to be calcul ating nor to shock; her poe try
is nei ther a secre t code nor a picture puzzle: wh at we are
deal ing with here are enig mas that do not add up when they
a re sol ved, but stil l retain an enigm atic aspec t-and that
as pect is what matters. Here interpre tation can easily be
overeag er. The work demands of the read er not cleverness
so much as humility: the work does not want to be made
concre te or be transf ormed, but experienced, patie ntly and
with exactness . Therefore, it should not be said wha t
the wor k means ; at most we can allo w our selves allu sions,
sug gestions to show the reader the way-o ne pos sible way.
Go ttfried Benn used to speak about his poems as thou gh
the y could be under stood one at a time, each one by itsel f­
val uable "creation s" wh ich, if he was lucky, "were fit to
sur viYe," detached from any contex t and suffic ient unt o
th emselv es. This is not so with Nel ly Sachs's poetry, which is
inconc eivable as a ser ies of indi vidual artif acts. Since the
appearance in 1946 of her first col lection of poetry, In
the HabgT_T]eI of De ath ) she has been 'niting funda­
men tally a sing le book. The preced ence of the whole over
the individ ual in her work is not a for mal characteri stic;
it docs not express itsel f in an underl ying stru ctur al law, in
the compos ition as a cycl ical or epic structure; it is more
de epl y roote d . Th is ide a of the book that is the basis of her
m>rk is of religio us ori gin. lleda Allema n, i n h is essay
A flus ion to a Poetic Realm) demonstrated that she has
Vl

taken
the Caba la as her model, especially The Soha r1 a
comm entary on the Pent ateuch .
Then wrote the scrib e of The Sohar
op ening the words' mesh of veins
instilling blood from stars.
Thus begins a poem-sequence by Ne lly Sachs which
mani fests the heritage that Alleman discuss es. Bo ok and
insc r�eociG u arch ive and alphabet : these are concepts that
recur throughout her work. The y do not signif y anything
li terary, but rather make literal use of the old concept of the
b ook of nat ure, and, as it were, turn it arou nd: the poetess
does not copy nature 's signs into her poems ; she absorbs
them so as to del ineate future patterns :
The alphab et's corpse rose from the grave1
alp habe t ang el1 anci ent crystal1
immu re d by creati on in drops of water
And unwraps} as thou gh it we re linen sheets
in wh ich birt h and deat h are swat hed1
the alph abe t wom b1 ch
rysalis
of green and red and white obscurity.
Nelly Sachs's bo ok unf olds itsel f, gradua lly, with its languag e .
No thing in it is isol ated; from one poem to the next the
concrete detail is reite rated until its cosmic connotations are
established. One of the varied images reveal ed throug hout
the boo k expre sses this process itsel f: the imag e of the
bu tterfly. The work itself is "a lphabet's corpse" and
"chrys alis." This summer creature appears first in the earl y
poem Chorus
of the Unborn1 though
still in the form of a
seem ingly conventional simile, as a metap hor pure and
simple :
VtZ

We
are caught
Like butterflies by the sentries of your yearning-
In a �ater poem from And No One Knows How to Go On
the image is elab orated :
All lands are ready to rise
fro m the map . . .
Ready to carry the last weight
of melancholy in a suitcase, this chrysalis
on the wings of which they will one day
end their journey.
·what has, as it were, been enclosed in this image from the
very beginning �ibera tes itse �d fina�y and enters one of the
central themes of Nel ly Sach s's work , the theme of
meta morphos is:
Fleeing, w hat a great recept ion
on the way-
The sick butterfly
will soon learn again of the sea­
This stone
with the fly's inscript ion
gave itself into my hand-
] hold instead of a homeland
the metamorphoses
of the world-
Not only the objects that appear in Nel ly Sachs's book
but e\·en the words and imag es are sub ject to this law of
transformation. For one of her most perfect poems, Butterfl y,
becomes both theme and title. This poem says:
Vlll

What love ly after math
is painted in you r dust.
W hat roya l sign
in the secret of the air.
The imag e of the butterfly and the idea of crea tion as
si gn and inscription here comb ine with another basic word,
which can be traced from the begin ning to the end of her
work : the word "dust." As an example of this, let us fol low
how one can read the word "dust" in this book, its cour s e
and its transform ations from the first to the last poem .
At the beginning of this course stands not a met aphor
but the black reality of our epoch. So the first poem of
this book begin s:
0 the chimne ys
On the ingeni ously dev ised habitation s of death
Whe n Israel's body drifted as smoke
T hro ugh the air-
0 the chimne ys!
Fr eedo mway for Jerem iah and Job's du st-
Du st, ash es, smoke stand with terrible exac tness and
concre teness above the crema tory ovens of the German
concen tration camps. This is the beginning that is asserted
thro ughou t all transf ormations of dust , which is never
forgo tten and is always part of the thoug ht. It is ha nded on
expr essly in the poem To You That Build the New House:
Oh) th e walls and househo ld utens ils
Are responsive as Aeo lian harps
Or like the field in which your sorrow grows)
And they se nse you r kins hip with du st.
zx

Build) when the hourglass trickles)
But do not weep away the minu tes
Together with the dust
That obscures the ligh t.
Dus t is also the sand in the hourglass; it becomes the image
of transi toriness as such. I'\ ot hu man kind alone, the "·hol e
earth is dus t, and all crea tures wi th it; dus t in which life
le aves its im press ion, its sign, its in scri ption as a trace, which
can be read from the wings of the butt erfly like this image :
Bu t who empt ie d yam shoes of sand
TT'hen you had to get up) to die?
The sand which Ismel gather ed)
Its nomad sand?
Burning Sinai sand)
Mingled with thr oats of nightingales)
Mingled with wings of bu tter flies ...
As sand the dust is at home in the deser t, wh ere, in othe r
,\·orcls, no shel ter exis ts wha tsoeve r. The hom e in the home ­
le ssn ess of the desert is baptiz ed Israel . Nel ly Sachs is
the last poete ss of Jewry who writes in Ge nn an, and her
'mr k remains incomprehe nsible without this royal origin.
In her Stoc khol m ref uge she expe rienced the genocide
of the Final Solution more closely than we 'd10 liYed near
the death camp s, and her book remains the only po etic
te stimo ny that can hold its O'\"n beside the dumfo unding
ho rror of the documen tary reports. As incompa rable as this
poetic deed may be, one cannot confine her work within this
ach ie\·emen t. It is to do a n injust ice to this ,\·ork if on e seeks
to reduce it to thi s act of wi tnessing , to thi s la men t, or eYe n
to supply ing redeemin g inform ation for "oYercomin g" ,\·hat
no power can o\'ercom e.

To
Nelly Sachs as to the ancient writings, Isra el is repre­
sent ative of the story of all of cre ation 's fo rtune and
mi sfortu ne. Dust, smoke, ashes are not the "past," which one
migh t be able to have done with, but are alwa ys con tem­
poran eous. Today as wel l and every day it says :
The chimneys fly black flags
at the grave of air.
But man ha s said Ah
and climb s
a str aigh t candle
in to the night.
And even the stone partakes of the "metamo rphoses of the
worl d."
Wh ile the cricket scra tche s sof tly
at the invisi ble
and the stone dancing
ch anges its du st to music.
The path that this book traverses begins in fligh t and ends
as a Jo ur ney into a Dustless Realm: this is the title of a lat er
sequ ence of poems which the poetess also used for the edition
of her colle cted poems . So pal pable as the naked realit y of
the ashes and smoke in the ext erm ination camps , so con­
cr etely begins the jour ney, as exile, dispossessed banishme nt,
flight from the henchmen of 1940 int o peaceful Sweden, and
li ke the dust this journey ends as a co smic one, as an image
of the worl d.
In scrip tion, butterfly, metamorp hosis, flight: as these
elements of her poetry unf old themselves and intert win e, so
do all the words that stand in this book . Wher ever the reader
b egins, with the met apho r of hair and fire, the hunt er and
the hun ted, sea and wings, or finger and shoe : from every
xz

point
the "words ' mesh of veins " wil l open up to him, and
even the most daring telescoping of express ion, the cryp ti­
cally condensed stanza will become transpar ent to him when
he traces the multif ariousness of this coral reef of images.
This poetry is also cabalistic in this linguistic sense : as the
work of a magical ars combinatora that knows how to grasp
even the incommensura ble ever more ligh tly the more
remote it is.
So this "royal word written far away" ought to become
reada ble even if the book,
This chain of enigmas
hung on the neck of night)
will maintain its manif est secre t ag ainst everyone who reads
it , and thus will live on.
xu

Tr
ansl ator s
The work of the various transl ators is iden tified in the tabl e
of contents as fol lows :
MH
CH RM M
MR Mi
chael Hambur ger
Christopher Holme
Ruth and Matthew Mead
Mi chael Roloff
As indicat ed, all of Glowin g Eni gmas: I1 II and III was
tran slated by Mr . Hamb urger, and all of the verse play Eli1
by Mr . Holme .
XllZ

Co
ntent s
INTRODUCTION BY Han� Magnu� Enzen�)6Y<6Y
v MR
In the Habitation s of Deat h
0 die Schorn�^6ET6 I 0 the chimney� 3 MR
An euch, die da� neue Hau� bauen I To you that build the new
hou�6 5 MH
0 der weinenden Kinder Nacht! I 0 the night of the weep-
ing children 7 MH
Wer aber leerte den Sand au� euren Schuhen I But who emptied
your �?V6 of sand
9 MH
Auch der Grei�6 letzten Atemzug 1 Even the old men's last
breath II MR
Ein totes Kind spricht I A dead child speaks I
3 RMM
Schon vom Arm des himmlischen Troste� umfagen 1 Already
embraced by the arm of heavenly �VO',6 I5 MR
W'elche geheimen Wiinsche 1 \Vhat �6,Y6^ cravings I7 MH
Ihr Zuschauenden I You onlookers I9 RMM
Qual I Agony 2I MR
Wenn ich nur wiisste I If I only knew 23 RMM
Chor der Geretteten 1 Chorus of the Rescued 2 5 MR
C hor der Waisen I Chorus of the Orphans 29 MR
Chor der Schatten I Choru� of the Shadow� 33 MR
Chor der Steine I
Chorus of the Stones 35 RMM
Chor der Sterne I Chorus
of the Star� 39 MR
Chor der Ungeborenen I Chorus of the Unborn 43 RMM
Stimme des Heiligen Landes I The voice of the Holy Land 4 5
RMM
For purposes of simplification, only the page number s of the
English translations arc given here. The German text will be
found on the facing page.
XV

Eclipse
of the Star s
\Venn wie Ra�
=c der Schlaf einzieht in den Leib I When sleep
enters the body like smoke 49 MR
N acht, Nacht I Night, night 53 RMM
Auf class die Verfolgten nicht Verfolger werden 1 That the per-
secuted may not become persecutors 55 RMM
Wenn die Propheten einbrachen 1 If the prophets broke in 59
RMM
Hiob I Job 63 MR
\Varum die schwarze Antwort der Hasses I Why the black an-
swer of hate
6 5 MR
Israel I Israel 6g RMM
Zahlen I Numbers 7I MR
Greise I Old men 73 RMM
Welt, frage nicht I \Vorld, do not ask 7
5 RMM
Auf allen Landstrassen der Erde I The children lie on all the
roads of the earth 77 RMM
0 die Heimatlosen Farben I 0 the homeless colors 79
RMM
Nun hat Abraham I Now Abraham 8I MR
Du sitzt am Fenster I You sit by the window 83 MR
Wenn der Tag leer wird I When day grows empty 85 MR
Am Abend weitet sich dein Blick I In the evening your vision
widens 87
MR
\Vohin 0 wohin 1 \Vither 0 wither 8g RMM
Schmetterling I Butterfly gi RMM
Volker der Erde I Peoples of the earth 93 �fR
\Vir uben heute schon den Tod von morgen I \Ve
rehearse
tomorrow's death even today 95 MR
And No One Knows How to Go On
DOdI ist dcr Flilchtlinge Planetenstunde 1 That is the fugitives'
pl ane ta ry hour 99 1\IR
XVl

Einen Akkord spielen Ebbe und Flut I Ebb and flood strike a
chord IOI MR
Wer weiss, wo die Sterne stehn I Who knows where the stars
Stand IOJ
RMM
Erde, Planetengreis I Earth, old man of the planets I05 RMM
In einer Landschaft aus Musik 1 In a landscape of music I07
MR
Hier und da I Here and there I09 RMM
In der blauen Ferne I In the blue distance I I I RMM
Und wir, die ziehen I And we who move IIJ MR
Bereit sind aile Lander I All lands are ready II5 RMM
Vergessenheit! I Oblivion! II7 MR
Verwunschen ist alles zur Halfte I Bewitched is half of every-
thing II9 MR
Da schrieb der Schreiber des Sohar I Then wrote the scribe of
The Sohar I2J
MR
Und wickelt aus, als warens Linnentiicher I And unwraps as
though it were linen sheets I25 MR
Landschaft aus Schreien I Landscape of screams I27 MR
Mit Wildhonig I With wild honey I
JI RMM
Wieviele Meere /How many oceans
IJJ MR
0 Schwester I 0 sister IJ5 RMM
In zweideutiger Berufung I In ambiguous calling IJ9 MR
Salzige Zungen aus Meer I Salty ocean tongues I4I MR
Fl ig ht and Metam orph osis
In der Flucht I Fleeing I45 RMM
Tanzerin 1 Dancer I47 RMM
Sieh doch I But look I5 I RMM
Einer wird den Ball I
Someone will take the ball I53 RMM
Und iiberall I And everywhere I 57 MR
Wie viele ertrunkene Zeiten I How many drowned ages I6I
MR
XVlZ

Kommt
einer von ferne I Someone comes from afar 165
RMM
'Weiter I Further 169 RMM
Linie wie lebendiges Haar I Line like living hair I7I MH
Der Schlafwandler 1 The sleepwalker 173 MH
Weisse Schlange I White serpent 175 MH
Wie viele HeimatHinder I How many homelands 177 MR
Schon I Already 179 MR
Hinter den Lippen I Behind the lips I8I MR
Abgewandt I Estranged 183 MR
Erloste aus Schlaf I Re deemed from sleep 185 RMM
journey into a Dustless Realm
Wer I ·whoever 189 MR
Du in der Nacht I You in the night 193 RMM
Mund saugend am Tod I Mouth suckling on death 195 MR
Vergehens I Vainly 197 MR
Der Sch\c I The swan 201 MR
In diesem Amethyst I The ages of night 203 RMM
Death Still Celebrates Life
Der versteinerte Engel 1 The petrified angel 207 MR
\\'under der Begegnungen I l\Iarvel of encounters 209
MR
Hinter der Ti.ir 1 Behind the door 211 MR
1\'och feiert der Tod 1 Death still celebrates 213 MR
Aber unter dem BHitterdach I But under the leafy roof 215
Rl\L\1
Und die blindgewordenen Leiber I And night step by step 217
Rl\1 !\I
Zeit der \'erpuppung I Time of pupation 21 9 MR
Die heiden Allen I The old couple 2
21 MR
\\'er ruft? I \Vho calls? 223
Rl\11\1
XVlll

Die
�v| I The archive
225
MR
�v wunderstatig I And miraculous 227 MR
Schon will ausserstes I Extremity is seeking 229
Aber die Sonnenblume I But the sunflower 2JI
Ich kenne nicht I I do not know 233
RMM RMM
MR
Die gekriimmte Linie I The contorted line 235 MR
Nacht der Nachte I Night of nights 237 MR
Diese Kette von Ratseln I This chain of enigmas 239
RMM
So steigt der Berg 1 Thus the mountain climbs 2p RMM
Gl owi ng En ig ma s: I
MH
Diese N acht I This night 24 5
Auf und ab I � and down 245
Nichtstun I Doing nothing 247
Ich wasche meine Wasche I I wash my clothes 247
Lichterhelle I Effulgence of lights 247
Hinter der Tiir I Behind the door 247
Wir winden hier einen Kranz I Here we wind a wreath 249
Nur Sterben I Only death 249
Diese Telegrafie I This telegraphy 249
Rufst du nun den einen Namen verzweifelt I If now you desper-
ately call the one name 249
Ausgeweidet die Zeit I Time's pasture cropped 25I
Die Fortlebenden I Those who live on 25I
Einsamkeit I Solitude 253
Dein Name ist dir verlorengegangen I You who have misplaced
your name 253
Die Betten werden fiir die Schmerzen zurechtgemacht 1 The
beds are being made for pain 253
Wenn ich die Stube I When I come to leave the room 255
Ihr sprecht mit mir I You speak with me 255
Fiirstinnen der Trauer I Princesses of sadness 255
Verzeiht ihr meine Schwestern 1 Forgive me my sisters 257
XlX

Schnell
ist der Tod I Quickly death 257
Weine aus die entfesselte Schwere der Angst 1 Weep away the
unleashed heaviness of fear 2 57
Im Augenblick schliesst ein Stern sein Auge I In one moment
a star closes its eye 2
59
Meine Liebe floss I My love flowed 259
Im verhexten Wald I In the bewitched wood 259
Kranke I Sick people 26I
Meine geliebten Toten I My beloved dead 26I
Wahrend ich hier warte I As I wait here
263
Abendweites Verbluten I A bleeding away 263
Immer wieder neue Sintflut 1 New flood again and again 263
Sie reden Schnee I They speak snow 26 5
Gl owi ng Eni gmas: II MH
Gesichte aus Dammerung I Visions all dusk 267
Immer ist die leere Zeit 1 Always empty time 269
Strasse-Wagen-Fi.isse I Pavement-cars-feet 269
Ahnungen I Premonitions 27 I
In der Zwischenzeit I In the interim 27I
Aile Lander haben unter meinem Fuss 1 Under my foot all the
co�\c 273
Schliesse ich die Augen I I close my eyes 27 3
Im i\Ieer aus l\Iinuten 1 In the sea of minutes
275
So tie£ I So deep 277
Als der grosse Schrecken kam I \Vhen the great terror came 277
Grade hinein in das A.usserste 1 Straight into the uttermost 279
\Vo nur finden die \Vorte I Only where find those words 279
Immer noch urn die Stirn geschl�Q
\c I Still wo�Qc about the
forehead 279
Schon in dein Jenseits wuchs I Already
your being's para­
digm 28I
Steine trugst du I
Stones you carried 283
XX

J
eder Schritt I Every pace 283
Holle ist nackt 1 Hell is naked 285
Aber zwischen Erde und Himmel I Bu t between earth and
sky 285
Wan endlich I When at last 287
Lilien I Lilies 287
Gl ow ing Enigma s: III MH
In meiner Kammer I In my room 289
Dies ist ein Ausfiug 1 This is an excursion 289
Und du gingst iiber den Tod I And you walked over death 29I
Dann einsam I Then alone 29I
Bin in der Fremde I Am in strange parts 293
Und ich gedenke ihrer I And I think of her 293
Ich sah ihn aus dem Haus treten I I saw him step from the
house 295
Gefangen iiberall I Captive everywhere 295
Ein Spiel I A game 297
N icht HIER noch DORT I Not HERE nor THERE 299
Sie stiessen zusammen auf der Strasse I They collided m the
street 299
Fortgehen ohne Riickschau I Leave without looking back 30r
Schneller Zeit schneller 1 Faster time faster 3or
Ich schreibe dich 1 I write you 303
Den Schlaf die Decke 1 Pull over oneself 303
Dunkles Zischeln des Windes I Dark hissing of the wind 305
Vier Tage vier Nachte I Fou r days four nights 305
Das Samenkorngeheimnis I Thrown the seed grain's mys­
tery 307
El i: A Mys tery Pla y of
the Suff ering s
of Israe l 309
CH
Postscript to Eli 386 cH
xxz

In
the Habitations of De ath
For my dead brothers and sisters

0
die Sch ornste ine
Und w� diese meine Haut zerschlagen sein
wird, so werde ich ohne mein Fleis ch Gott schau en.-HlOB
0 die Schor nsteine
Auf den sinnre ich erdac hten Wohnung en des Todes,
Als Israels Leib zog aufgelost in Rauch
Du rch die Luft-
Als Essenke hrer ihn ein Stern empfing
De r schwa rz wurde
Oder war es ein Sonnenst rahl?
0 die Scho rnste ine!
Fr eihei tswege fi.ir Jeremias und Hiobs Staub­
Wer erdac hte euch und haute Stein auf Stein
Den 'Veg fi.ir Fli.ich tling e aus Rauch?
0 die Wo hnung en des Todes,
Einla dend hergeri chtet
Fi.ir den Wirt des Haus es, der sonst Gast war-
0 ihr Fing er,
Di e Ei ng angssc hwel le legend
Wie ein Messer zwischen Leben und Tod-
0 ihr Scho rnste ine,
0 ihr Fing er,
Und Isra els Leib im Rauch durch die Luf t !
2

0
the chimne ys
And though after my skin worms destroy this
body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.-JoB, 19:26
0 the chimn eys
On the ingenio usly devised habitations of death
·when Israel 's body drifted as smoke
Th rough the air-
"\Vas welcomed by a star , a chimney sweep,
A star that turned black
Or was it a ray of sun?
0 the chimn eys!
Freedomway for Jeremiah and Job's dust ­
"\Vho devise d you and laid stone upon stone
The road for refugees of smoke?
0 the habitations of dea th,
Inviting ly appoin ted
For the host who used to be a guest-
0 you fingers
Lay ing the threshold
Like a kn ife bet ween life and death -
0 you chimn eys,
0 you fingers
And Israel 's bod y as smoke through the air!
3

An
euch, die das neu e H a us bauen
Es gibt St�ine wie Seelen.-RABBl NACHMAN
Wenn du dir deine Wande neu aufrichtest­
Dei nen Herd, Schl afstatt, Tisch und Stuhl-
Ha nge nicht deine Tranen urn sie, die dahi ngegangen ,
Die nicht mehr mit dir wohnen werden
An den Stein
Ni cht an das Holz -
Es we int sonst in deine n Schl af hinein,
Den kurzen, den du noch tun musst.
Seuf ze nicht, wenn du dein Laken bettest,
Es mis chen sich sonst deine Traume
Mi t dem Schweiss der Toten .
Ach, es sind die Wande und die Cerate
"\Vie die Windh arfen empfanglich
U nd wie ein Ack er, darin de in Leid wachst,
Und spiiren das Stau bver wandte in dir.
Baue, wenn die Stund enuhr riesel t,
Ab er weine nicht die Minut en fort
Mit dem Staub zusammen,
De r das Licht verdeckt.
4

To
you that build the new house
"There are stones like souls"-RABBI NACHMAN
When you come to put up your wal ls anew­
Your stove, your bedstead, table and chair ­
Do not hang yo ur tear s for those who departed,
Who will not live wit h you then,
On to the stone .
Nor on the timb er-
Else weeping will pierce the sleep,
The brief sleep you have yet to take.
Do not sigh when you bed your sheets,
Else your dreams will mingl e
Wit h the sweat of the dead.
Oh, the walls and househo ld utensils
Are respo nsive as Aeolian harps
Or like a field in whi ch your sorrow grows,
And they sense your kinship with dust.
Build, when the hour glass trickles,
But do not weep away the minutes
Together with the dust
That obscures the light.
5

0 der
weinenden Kinder Nacht!
0 der weinenden Kinder Na cht!
De r zum Tode gezeichneten Kinder Nacht!
De r Schlaf hat keinen Eingang mehr.
Schre ckliche Warter innen
Sind an die Stelle der Mutte r getre ten,
Raben den falschen Tad in ihre Ha ndmusk eln gesp annt,
Saen ihn in die "\Vande und ins Gebalk-
Dbera ll bri.itet es in den Nestern des Grauens.
Angst saugt die Kleinen statt der Muttermilch.
Za g die Mutter noch gestern
"\V ie ein weisser Mond den Schlaf heran,
Kam die Pup pe mit dem fortgeki.issten Wangen rot
In den einen Arm ,
Kam das ausg estopfte Tier, lebendig
In der Liebe schon geworden,
In den andern Arm,-
'V eht nun der Wind des Sterbens,
Blast die Hemden i.iber die Haare fort,
Die niemand mehr kammen wird.
6

0
the nigh t of the wee ping childr en!
0 the night of the weeping children!
0 the nigh t of the child ren branded for death !
Sleep may not enter here.
Ter rible nursemaids
Ha ve usurped the place of mothe rs,
Ha ve taut ened their tendons with the false death,
Sow it on to the walls and into the bea ms­
Ev erywher e it is hatched in the nests of horror.
In stead of mother's milk, panic suckles those little ones.
Yes terday Mother still drew
Sleep toward them like a whit e moon,
Th ere was the doll with cheeks derouged by kisses
In one arm,
The stuffed pet, already
Brough t to life by love,
In the other-
No w blo ws the wind of dying ,
Blows the shifts over the hair
Th at no one will comb again.
7

Wer
aber leerte den Sand aus euren Schuhen
Wer aber leerte den Sand aus euren Schuhen,
Als ihr zum Sterben aufstehen musstet?
Den Sand, den Israel heim holte,
Seinen Wandersand?
Br ennenden Sinaisand,
Mit den Kehle n von Nachtig allen verm ischt,
Mit den Fl iigel n des Schme tterlings verm ischt,
Mit dem Sehnsucht sstaub der Schlang en verm ischt,
Mit allem was abfiel von der Weisheit Salomos vermischt,
Mit dem Bitteren aus des Wer muts Geheimn is verm ischt-
0 ihr Fing er,
Di e ihr den Sand aus Totens chuhen leertet,
Mo rgen schon werdet ihr Staub sein
I n den Schuhen Kommend er!
8

But
who emptied your shoes of sand
But who emptied your shoes of sand
When you had to get up, to die ?
The sand which Israel gathered,
It s nomad sand?
Bur ning Sinai sand,
Min gled with throats of nigh ting ales,
Mi ngled with wings of butt erflies,
Min gled wit h the hungry dust of serpen ts;
Mi ngl ed wit h all that fell from the wisdom of Sol omo n ,
Ming led with what is bi tter in the myster y of wormwood-
0 you fingers
That emptied the deathly shoes of sand.
Tomorrow you will be dust
In the shoes of those to come.
9

Au
ch der Greise
Auch der Greise
Let zten Atemz ug, der schon den Tod anblies
Raub tet ihr noch fort.
Die leere Luft,
Zi tternd vor Erw artung, den Seuf zer der Erlei chterung
Zu erfiillen, mit dem diese Erde fortgestossen wird­
Die leere Luft habt ihr beraubt!
De r Greise
Ausg etrocknetes Auge
Habt ihr noch einmal zus ammengepresst
Bis ihr das Salz der Verzwe iflung gewonnen hattet­
Alles was dieser Stern
An Kriim mungen der Qual besitzt,
Alles Leiden aus den dunklen Verliesen der Wiir mer
Sammelte sich zuhauf -
0 ihr Rauber von echten Todesstunden,
Letzten Atemz iigen und der Augen lider Cute Nacht
Ei nes sei euch gewiss:
Es sammel t der Engel ein
Was ihr fo rtwarft,
A us der Greise verfriihter l\f itterna cht
'V ird sic h ein ·wind der letzten Atemzi ige auftun,
Der diesen losg er isse nen Stern
In seines Herrn Hande jagen wird!
IO

Eve n
the old men' s las t br eath
Even the old men's last breath
That had already grazed death
You snatched away.
The emp ty air
Trem bling
To fill the sigh of relief
That thrusts this earth away-
You have plunde red the empty air!
The old men's
Par ched eyes
You pressed once more
Till you reaped the salt of despair­
All that this star owns
Of the con tortions of agon y,
All suffering from the dung eons of wo rms
Gath ered in heaps-
0 you thieves of gen uine hours of death,
Last breaths and the eyelids' Good Night
Of one thing be sure :
The angel, it ga thers
What you discarded,
F rom the old men 's prem ature midni ght
A wind of last breaths shall arise
And drive this unloosed star
Int o its Lord 's ha nds!
II

Ein
totes Kind sprich t
Die Mut ter hielt mich an der Hand.
Dann hob J emand das Abs chied smesser :
Di e Mu tter loste ihre Ha nd aus der meinen,
Damit es mich nicht trafe.
Sie abe r berii hrte noch einmalleise meine Hiifte­
Und da blut ete ihre Ha nd-
Von da a b schni tt mir das A bsch iedsmesse r
De n Bissen in der Kehle entzwei-
Es fuhr in der Morgenda mmerung mit der Sonne hervor
U nd beg ann, sich in meinen Augen zu sch arfen-
In meinem Ohr schliffen sich Winde und Wasser,
Und jede Trost esstimme stach in mein Herz-
Als man mich zum T ode fiihrte,
Fiih lte ich im letzten Augenbl ick noch
Das Heraus ziehen des grossen Abschie dsmessers.
I2

A
dead child sp eak s
My mothe r held me by my hand.
Then someon e raised the knife of part ing:
So that it shoul d not strike me,
My mother loosed her hand from mine.
But she lightl y touched my thighs once more
And her hand was bleedin g-
After that the knif e of part ing
Cut in two each bite I swal lowed-
It rose before me with the sun at dawn
And began to sharpen itself in m y eyes­
Wind and water ground in my ear
And every voice of comfort pierced my heart-
As I was led to death
I still felt in the last moment
The unsheathing of the gre at knif e of parting.

Sc
hon vom Ar m des himmlischen Troste s umfan gen
Schon vom Arm des himml ischen Trostes umf angen
Steht die wahnsinn ige Mutt er
Mit den Fetzen ihres zerrissenen Verstandes,
Mit den Zundern ihres verbran nten Verstandes
Ihr totes Kind einsarg end,
Ihr verlorenes Licht einsargend,
Ihre Hande zu Kriigen biegend,
Aus der Luft fiille nd mit dem Leib ihres Kindes,
Aus der Luft fiillend mit seinen Augen, seinen Haaren
Und seinem flatternden Herzen-
Dann kiisst sie das Luftge borene
Und stirbtl

Al
rea dy em braced by th e arm of he
aven ly sol ace
Already embraced by the arm of heavenl y solace
The insane mother stands
With the tatter s of her torn mind
"\\l ith the charred tinders of her burn t mind
Bur ying her dead child,
Bu rying her lost light,
Twisti ng her hand s into urns,
F ill ing them with the body of her chi ld from the air,
Fill ing them with his eyes, his hair from the air,
And with his flutt ering heart-
Then she kisses the air-born being
And dies!
IJ

We
lche geheimen Wiinsche des Elu tes
Wel che geheimen Wiinsche des Blutes,
Traume des Wahnes und tausendfach
Gemordetes Erdreich
Lie ssen den schrecklichen Marionet tenspieler entstehen?
Er, der mit scha umendem M uncle
Fur chtbar umblies
Die runde, kreisende Biihne seiner Ta t
Mit dem aschgrau ziehenden Horizon t der Angst!
0 die Staubh iigel, die, wie von bosem Mond gezogen
Die Marder spielten :
Arme auf und ab,
Beine auf und ab
Und die unterg ehende Sonne des Sina ivolkes
Als den roten Teppich unter den Fiissen.
Arme auf und ab,
Beine auf und ab
Und am ziehenden aschgrauen Horizont der Angst
Rie seng ross das Gestim des T odes
Wie die Uhr der Zeiten stehend.
z6

Wh
at sec ret crav in gs of the blood
What secret crav ings of the blood,
Dreams of madness and earth
A thous and time s mur dered,
Bro ugh t into being the te rrible pupp eteer?
Him who with foam ing mouth
Dr ead fully swept away
The round, the circl ing stage of his deed
With the ash- gray, receding horizon of fear?
0 the hills of dust , which as though drawn by an evil moon
The murderers enacted:
Arms up and down,
Legs up and down
And the setting sun of Sinai's people
A red carpet under their feet.
Arms up and down ,
Legs up and down
And on the ash-gra y rec eding horizon of fear
G igan tic the const ellation of death
That loomed like the clock face of ages.
I7

lhr
Zusc hauenden
Un ter deren Blicken getotet wurde.
Wie man auch einen Blick im Ri.icken fi.ihlt,
So fi.ihlt ihr an euerm Leibe
Die Blicke der Toten.
Wie viel brec hende Augen werd en euch ansehn
\Venn ihr aus den Vers tecken ein Veilchen pfli.ickt?
Wieviel flehend erhobene Hande
In dem marty rerhaft geschlu ngenen Gezweige
Der al ten Eichen?
\V ieviel Erinnerung wachst im Blut e
De r ALendsonne?
0 die ungesungenen Wiegenlieder
In der Turtel taube Nachtruf-
l\Ia nch einer hatte Sterne herunt erhol en konnen,
Nun muss es der alte Bru nnen fi.ir ihn tun!
Ih r Zu schaue nden,
Die ihr keine Morderhand erhobt,
Aber die ihr den Staub nicht von eur er Se hnsucht
Schi.i tteltet,
Die ihr stehenbl iebt, dart, wo er zu Licht
Verw andelt wird.

Yo
u onl ooker s
Whose eyes watch ed the killi ng.
As one feels a stare at one's back
You feel on your bodie s
The glances of the dead.
Ho w many dying eyes will look at you
When you pluck a viol et from its hiding place?
How many hands be raised in supplica tion
In the twis ted mar tyr-l ike branches
Of old oaks?
How much memory grows in the blood
Of the evening sun?
0 the unsung cradlesong s
In the night cry of the turtled ove-
Many a one might hav e pl ucked stars from the sky,
No w the old well must do it for them!
Yo u onlook ers,
You who raised no hand in murder,
But who did not shake the dust
From your longing,
You who halted there, where dust is changed
To ligh t.

Qual
� Ze itme sser eine s fre mden Sterns
Die Gewiinder des Morgens sind nicht
die Gewiinder des Abends.-BvcH SoHAR
Qual, Zeitmesser eines fremden Sterns,
Jede Minut e mit ande rem Dunkel farben d­
Qual deine r erbrochenen Tiir,
De ines erbroc henen Schlafes,
De ine r for tgehenden Schritte,
Di e das letzte Leben hinzahl ten,
De iner zertre tenen Schritte,
Dein er schleif enden Schritte,
Bis sie auf horten Schritte zu sein fiir mein Ohr.
Qual urn das Ende deiner Schri tte
Vor einem Gitter,
Dahint er die Flur unserer Sehnsucht zu wogen begann-
0 Zei t, die nur nach Sterb en rechnet,
Wie leicht wird Tod nach di eser langen Obung sein.
20

A
gon y J metr onome of an alien star
The robes of morning are not
the robes of eveni ng.-The Sohar
Agony, metronome of an alien star,
Staining each minute with a di ffe rent darkness­
Agony of your broken door,
Your broken sleep,
Your departing steps
That counted out the rema �ivuof life ,
Of your crushed steps,
Your draggi ng steps ,
Till they ceased bei ng steps to my ear.
Agony of the end of your steps
Be fore a n iron grate
Beh ind which the meadow of our yearn ing began to sway-
0 time whose only measurement is dyin g,
Ho w easy death will be afte r this long rehear sal.
2I

Wenn
ich nur wii sste
Wenn ich nur wiisste,
Worau f dein letzte r Bl ick ruhte.
War es ein Stein, der schon viele let zte Blicke
Getrunk en hatt e, his sie in Blind heit
Auf den Blinden fie len?
O der war es Erde,
Genug , urn einen Schuh zu fiil len,
U nd schon schwarz geworden
Von soviel Abschied
Und von soviel Tod bereiten?
Oder wares dein letzter Weg,
De r dir das Lebe wohl von al len Wegen brachte
Die du gegangen warst?
Eine Wasserlache, ein Stuc k spieg elndes Metall,
Viell eicht die Giirtels chnal le deines Feindes,
Od er irg end ein and erer, kleiner Wahr sager
Des Himmels?
Oder sandte dir diese Erde,
Die keinen ungel iebt von hinne n ge hen lasst
Ein Vogel zeichen durch die Luft,
Erinne rnd deine Seele, class sie zuckte
In ih rem qual verbr annten Leib?
22

If
I onl y knew
If I only knew
On what your last look rested.
vVas it a stone that had drunk
So many last lo oks that they fell
Bl indly upon its blindness?
Or was it earth,
Enough to fill a shoe,
And black already
With so much parting
And with so mu ch kill ing?
O r was it your last road
That brough t you a farew ell from all the roads
You had walked?
A pud dle, a bit of shining metal,
Pe rhaps the buckle of your enemy's belt,
Or some other small augur y
Of heaven?
Or did this earth,
Which let s no one depart unloved,
Send you a bi rd-s ign through the air,
Reminding your soul that it qu ivered
In the torm ent of its burnt bo dy?
23

Chor
der Geretteten
"\Vir Gerettet en,
Aus deren hohlem Gebein der Tod schon seine FlOten schn itt,
An dere n Sehnen der Tod schon seinen Bo gen strich-
Un sere Leiber klagen noch nach
Mit ihrer vers tiimm elten Musik.
"\V ir Ge retteten,
Immer noch hangen die Schlin gen fiir unsere Halse gedre ht
Vor uns in der blauen Luft-
lmmer noch Hille n sich die Stun denuhren mit unse rem
tropfenden Blut.
"\Vir Geretteten,
Im mer noch essen an uns die "\Viirmer der Ang st.
Un ser Gestirn ist vergra ben im Staub.
"\Vir Gere tteten
Bi tten euch:
Zeigt uns Iang sam eure Sonne.
Fi ihrt uns von Stern zu St ern im Schr itt.
Lasst uns das Leben Ieise wie der lerne n.
Es konnt e so nst eine s Vogel s Lie d,
Das Fiille n des Eim ers am Brunne n
Unser en schle cht vers iegelten Schm erz aufbrec hen lassen
Unci uns wegsch aumen-
\V ir bitt en euch:
Zeigt uns noch nicht einen beissenden Hund­
Es kfln nte seingu es kon nte sein
Da ss wir zu Staub zerfallen-
\'or euren Augen zerfallen in Sta ub.
"\Vas h;ilt den n un sere \Vebe zusam men?

Chor
us of the Rescued
We, the res cued ,
From whose hollow bone s death had begu n to whit tle hi s
flu tes,
And on whose sinews he had already stroked his bow­
Our bodies continue to lament
With their mutil ated musi c.
We, the resc ued,
The nooses wound for our necks still dangle
bef ore us in the blue air-
Hour glasses still fill with our dripping blood.
"\Ve, the rescued,
The worms of fear still feed on us.
Our constellation is bu ried in dust.
We, the rescued,
Beg you :
Show us your sun, but graduall y.
Lead us from star to star, step by step.
Be gen tle when you teach us to live again .
L est the song of a bi rd,
Or a pail being filled at the well,
Let our badly sealed pain burst forth again
and carry us away-
We beg you:
D o not show us an angry dog, not yet­
It cou ld be, it could be
That we will dissol ve int o dust­
Dis solve into dust before your eyes.
F or what binds our fabric together?
25

Wir
odeml os gewordene,
De ren Seel e zu Ihm ftoh aus der Mitternacht
Lange bevor man unseren Leib rettete
In die Arche des Aug enbl icks.
Wir Geretteten,
Wir driicken eure Hand,
Wir erkennen euer Auge-
Aber zusammen halt uns nur noch der Abschi ed,
Der Abschied im Staub
Halt uns mit euch zusammen.

vVe
whose breath vacated us,
Whose soul fled to Hi m out of that midn ight
Long before our bodies were rescued
Int o the ark of the momen t.
vV e, the resc ued,
vVe press your hand
"\Ve look into your eye-
But all that binds us toge ther now is leave-taking ,
The leave- taking in the dust
Binds us toge ther with you.

C
hor der W aisen
Wir Waisen
Wir klagen der Wel t:
He rabg ehauen hat man unseren Ast
Und ins Feuer geworfen-
Br ennholz hat man aus unseren Beschiitze rn gema cht­
Wir Waisen liegen auf den Felde rn der Einsamk eit.
Wir Waisen
Wir klagen der Wel t:
In der Nacht spielen unsere Elte rn Verstecken mit uns­
Hi nter den schwarzen Fa! tender Nacht
Schauen uns ihre Gesich ter an,
Spr echen ihre Miinder :
Di irrho lz waren wir in eines Holzhaue rs Hand­
Aber unsere Aug en sind Engelaug en geworden
U nd sehen euch an,
Dur ch die schwarzen Fa! ten der Nacht
Bli cken sie hindur ch-
Wir Waisen
W ir klagen der Wel t:
St eine sind unser Spielzeug geworden,
Stei ne haben Gesich ter, Vate r-und Mutterges ichter
Sie verwe lken nicht wie Blumen, sie beissen nicht wie Tiere­
Und sie brennen nicht wie Diirrh olz, wenn man sie in den
Ofen wirft-
Wir \Vaisen wir klag e n der \Velt:

Ch
orus of the Orph ans
vVe orphans
"\Ve lame�w to the world:
Our bra�(> has bee� cut do·wn
And throvm in the fire-
Kindli�; was made of our protectors-
vV e orphans lie stretched out o� the fields of loneliness.
"\Ve orphans
vVe lament to the world:
At night our parents play hide and seek­
From behind the black folds of �H<?z
Their faces gaze at us,
Their mouths speak:
Ki�+UL; we were in a woodcutter's hand­
But our eyes have become angel eyes
And regard you,
Through the black folds of �G;?w
They pe�0{k w0-
vVe orpha�t
·we lament to the world:
Stones have become our playthings,
Sto�1q have faces, father and mother faces
They wilt not like flowers, nor bite like beasts-
And burn �cw like tinder \v-hen tossed into the oYen­
vVe orpha ns we lament to the world:

Wel
t warum hast du uns die weichen M iitter genommen
Und die Vater, die sagen: Mein Kind du gleichst mir!
W"ir Waisen gleichen niemand mehr auf der Wel t !
0 ·welt
Wir klagen dich ani
JO

Worl
d, why have you taken our soft moth ers from us
And the fath ers who say: My child , you are like me !
We orpha ns are like no one in this worl d any more !
0 wo rld
We accuse you !
JI

Chor
der Schatt en
Wir Schat ten, o wir Schatten !
Scha tten von Henkem
Geheftet am Staube eurer Untate n­
Schatten von Opfern
Zeichne nd das Drama eures Elutes an eine Wand.
0 wir hilftosen Trauerfal ter
Ein gefangen auf einem Stem, der ruhig weiterbren nt
Wenn wir in Holle n tanzen miissen .
Un sere Marionettens pieler wissen nur noch den Tod.
Goldene Amme, die du uns nahrst
Zu solcher Verzweift ung,
Wende ab o Sonne dein Angesicht
Auf class auch wir versinken-
Od er lass uns spieg eln eines Kindes jauchzend
Erhobene Finger
Und eine r Lib elle lei chtes Gliick
Ob er dem Brunnenrand.
32

Ch
oru sof the Shadow s
We shadows, 0 we shad ows!
Shadows of hangmen
Pi nned to the dust of your crimes­
Shadows of victims
Silhoue tting the dra ma of your blood on a wall .
0 we helples s mo ths of mour ning
Caug h t in a star that calmly goes on burning
·when we mus t dance in hell.
Our puppeteers know nothing but death any more.
Golden nurse, you who feed us
For such despair,
Turn away, 0 sun, your coun tenance
So tha t we too may sink away-
Or let us mir ror a child's
Fing ers raised in joy
And a drag onfly's flimsy luck
Above the rim of a we ll.
33

Char
der Steine
Wir Steine
\Ve nn eine r uns hebt
Hebt er Urzeiten empor­
'Ve nn eine r uns hebt
Hebt er den Garte n Eden empor­
Wenn einer uns hebt
Hebt er Adam und Evas Erken ntnis empor
Und der Schlan ge stau bessende Verfiihrung.
\Ven n eine r uns hebt
He bt er Bill io nen Erinne rungen in seine r Hand
Die sich nicht auflosen im Blut e
Wie der Abend.
Denn Gedenksteine sind wir
Al les Sterben umfassend.
Ein Ranzen voll gel ebten Lebens sind wir.
Wer uns hebt, hebt die hartgewor denen Graber der Erde.
Ihr Jakobshaupt er,
Di e \V urzel n der Traume halten wir versteckt fiir euch,
Lassen die luftigen Eng elslei tern
\Vie Ranken eines Windenbeet es spri essen.
34

Ch
oru s of the Stone s
\Ve stones
\V hen someone lifts us
He lifts the Foretime ­
\V hen someone lifts us
He lifts the Garden of Eden­
\V hen someone lifts us
H e lifts the knowl edge of Adam and Eve
And the serpent's dust-eating seduction.
·when someone lifts us
He lifts in his hand millions of memories
'Which do not dissolve in blood
Like evening.
For we are memorial stones
Embrac ing all dying.
\Ve are a sa tch el full of lived life .
'Whoev er lifts us lifts the harde ned graves of earth .
You heads of Jacob,
For you we hide the roots of dre ams
And let the airy angel s' ladders
Spr out like the tendr ils of a bed of bind weed.
35

Wenn
einer uns anriihrt
Riihrt er eine Klagemaue r an .
Wie der Diaman t zers chneidet eure Klage unsere Harte
Bis sie zerfallt un d weiche s He rz wir d-
Wahrend ihr versteint.
Wenn einer uns anriihrt
Riih rt er die Wegsc heiden der Mitt ernacht an
Kl ing end von Geburt und Tod.
Wen n eine r uns wirft­
Wirft er den Gart en Eden­
Den Wein der Sterne-
Die Aug en der Liebenden und allen Verrat-
W enn einer uns wirft im Zorne
So wirft er .Aonen gebrochener Herzen
Und seidene r Schmett erlinge.
Hiit et euch, hiitet euch
Zu werfen im Zorne mit einem Stein-
Unser Gemisch ist ein vom Odem Durchbl asenes.
Es erstarrte im Geheimnis
Aber kann erwachen an einem Kuss.

When
someone touches us
He touches the wail ing wall.
Like a di amond your lament cuts our hardness
Unti l it crumbles and becomes a soft heart­
W hile you turn t o stone.
When someone touches us
He touches the forked ways of mi dnight
Sounding with birth and death.
·when someon e thr ows us-
He throws the Garden of Eden­
The wine of the stars-
The eyes of the lovers and all betrayal-
When someon e thr ows us in ang er
He throws aeons of broken hearts
And silken butterfl ies.
Beware, beware
Of throwing a stone in anger-
Breath once tra nsfused our minglement ,
Wh ich grew solid in secre t
But can awaken at a kiss.
37

Chor der
Sterne
Wir Sterne, wir Stern e
'Vir wandernder, gHinzender, singender Staub­
Uns ere Schwester die Erde ist die Bl inde geworden
Unt er den Leuchtbil dern des Himmel s-
Ein Schrei ist sie geworden
Un ter den Singend en-
Sie , die Sehnsuch tsvollste
Die im Staube b egann ihr 'Verk : Engel zu bilden­
Si e, die die Seligkeit in ihrem Geheimnis tragt
' Vie goldf i.ihr ende s Gewasse r-
Au sgesch ii ttet in der N ach t li egt sie
'Vie 'Vein auf den Gassen-
De s Bo sen gel be Schwef ellichter hii pfen auf ihrem Leib.
OE rde, Erde
St ern aller Stern e
Du rch zogen von den Spuren des Hei mwehs
Di e Gott selbst beg ann-
Ist ni emand auf dir, der sich erinnert an deine Jugend?
N iemand, der sich hingi bt als Schwimmer
Den Meeren von Tod ?
Ist niemandes Sehnsucht reif geworden
Dass sie sich erhebt wie der enge lhaft fiieg end e Samen
Der Uhv enza hn bliite?
Erde, Erde, bist du eine Blinde geword en
Vor den Sclnreswe rnaug en der Plejaden
Oder der \\'aag e pri.ifendem -f+2 u
;8

Ch
oru s of the Star s
We stars, we stars
We wanderi ng, glistenin g, singing dust­
Ear th, our sister, has gone blind
Among the const ella tions of heaven-
A scream she has become
Among the singers-
She, richest in long ing
Who began her task-to form angels-in dust,
Sh e whose secret contains bliss
Like streams bear�i u gold-
Po ured out into the night she lies
Lik e wine in the stree ts-
Evil 's yel low sulfur lights flicker over her body.
0 eart h, earth
St ar of star s
Veined by the spoors of homesickness
Begun by God Himself -
Ha ve you no one who remembe rs your youth?
No one who will surre nder himself as the swimmer
To the oceans of death?
Ha s no one's longi n g ripened
So �L uwill rise like the angel ic ally flying seed
Of the dandel ion blossom?
Earth, earth, have you gone blind
Bef ore the sist er eyes of the Pleia des
Or Lib ra's examining gaze?
39

Morde
rhande gaben Israel einen Spiegel
Da rin es sterbend sein Sterben erbl ickte-
Erde, o Erde
St em aller Sterne
Einmal wird ein Stembild Spiegel heiss en.
Dann o Bl inde wirst du wie der sehn l

Murder
hands gave Israel a mi rror
In which it recogn ized its death while dying-
Earth, 0 earth
St ar of stars
One day a constel lation will be called mirror.
Then, 0 blind one, you will see again !
4I

Char der
Ungebo renen
\Vir Ungeborenen
Schon beginnt die Sehns ucht an uns zu schaff en
Die Ufer des Elut es wei ten sich zu unserem Empfang
\Vie Tau sinken wir in die Liebe hinein.
Noch liegen die Schatten der Zeit wie Fragen
Ob er uns erem Geheimnis.
Ihr Liebe nden,
Ihr Sehnsi ichtigen,
Ha rt, ihr Absch iedskranken :
\Vir sind es, die in euren Blicken zu I eben beginn en,
In euren Handen, die suchende sind in der blauen Luft­
\Vir sind es, die nach Morgen Duf tenden.
Schon zieht uns euer Atem ein,
Ni mmt uns hinab in euren Schlaf
In die Tdiume , di e un ser Erdreich sind
\Vo unse re schwarze Amme, die Nacht
U ns wachsen lasst,
Bis wir uns spiegeln in euren Augen
Bi s wir sprec hen in euer Ohr.
Schme tterlingsgl eich
\Ver den wir von den Haschern eurer Sehnsucht gefangen­
\Vie Vogelstimmen an die Erde ver kau ft-
\Vir Morgencluf tenden,
\Vir kommenden Lichter fiir eure Tra urigkeit.

Chor
us of the Unbor n
We the unbo rn
Th e yearn ing has begun to plague us
The shores of blood broaden to receive us
Like dew we sink int o lo ve
But still the shadows of time lie like questions
Ove r our secret.
You who love,
You who yearn ,
Listen, you who are sick with parting:
We are those who begin to live in your glan ces,
In your hands which are sear ching the blue air­
W e are those who smell of morning .
A lready yo ur breath is inhaling us,
Dr awing us down into your sleep
Into the dreams which are our earth
Wh ere night, our black nurse,
Let s us grow
Until we mir ror ourselves in your eyes
Until we speak into you r ear.
We are caugh t
L ike butterfli es by the sent ries of your yearn ing­
Like birdso ng sold to earth-
We who smell of mo rning,
We futu re lights for your sorrow.
43

St
imm e de s He ilige n Lan des
0 meine Kinder,
Der Tod ist durch eure Herzen gefahren
Wie durch einen Weinb erg-
Mal te Israel rot an aile Wande der Erde.
Wo soil die kleine Heiligkeit hin
Die noch in meinem Sande wohnt?
Du rch die Rohren der Abgeschieden heit
Sp rec hen die Stimmen der Toten :
Leget auf den Acker die Waffen der Rache
Damit sie Ieise werden-
Denn auch Eisen und Korn sind Geschwist er
lm Schosse der Erde-
"\\To so il denn die kleine Heiligke it hin
Die noch in meinem Sande wohnt?
Das Kind im Schl afe gem ordet
Steht auf; biegt den Baum der Jahrtausende hinab
U nd heftet den weissen, atmenden Stern
De r einm al Israel hiess
An seine Krone.
Schne lle zur iick , sp richt es
Dorthin, wo Tranen Ewigkeit bedeuten.
44

The
voice of the Holy Land
0 my children,
De ath has run through your hearts
As through a vineyard-
Pain ted Israel red on all the walls of the worl d.
What shall be the end of the little hol iness
Which still dwel ls in my sand ?
The voices of the dead
Speak through reed pipes of seclusion.
Lay the weapons of revenge in the field
Tha t they grow ge ntle-
For even iron and grain are akin
In the womb of earth-
But what shall be the end of the little ho line ss
Which still dwel ls in my sand ?
The child murdered in sleep
Ar ises ; bends down the tree of ages
And pins the white breathing star
Tha t was once calle d Isra el
To its topmost bough.
Spring upright again, says the child,
To whe re tears mean eter nity.
45

Ecli
pse of the St ar s
In memor y of my father

We
nn wie Rauc h de r Schlaf einz ieht in den Leib
\Venn wie Rauch der Schlaf einzi eht in den Leib,
u nd wie ein erlos chenes Gestirn, das an derswo entzi.in det
wir d,
der Mensch zu Grunde fahrt,
st eh t der Streit still,
ab getriebene Mahre, die den Albdruck ihres Reiters
a bgeworfen hat.
Au s ihr em heim lichen Takt entlas sen
sin d die Schritte,
die wie Brun nenschwengel an das Ratsel der Erde klopften.
Aile ki.inst lichen Tode sind in ihr e blu tverwir rten Nester
heim gekehrt.
\V enn wie Rauch der Schl af einzieht in den Leib,
at met das Kind ge sti llt, mit der Mond trompete im Arm.
Di e Tr ane verschl aft ihre Sehnsucht zu fliessen,
aber die Liebe ist aile Umwege zu Ende gegangen
und ruht in ihr em Beg inn.
J etzt ist die Zeit fiir das Kalb seine neue Zunge
am Leib der !\I utte r zu proben,
der falsche Schl iissel schliesst nicht
und das Mes ser ro stet hinein
bis in d i e blas se He ide der :\forg en d;immer ung
die aus der Vergess enheit erbl iiht im furchtbaren Friihrot.

Wh
en slee p ent ers the body like smoke
When sleep enters the body like smoke
and man journeys into the abyss
li ke an exting uished star that is lighted elsewhe re,
then all quarrel ceases,
overwo rked nag that has tossed the nightmare grip
of its rider.
Release d from their secret rhythm
are the steps
that knoc k like well lifts at the earth's enig ma.
All artificial deaths have returned to the bloody confusio n
of their nests.
When sleep enters the body like smoke
the stille d child breathes with the moon trumpet in its arm.
The tear over sleeps its lon ging to flow,
but love has compl eted all detours
and rests in its beg inning.
No w is the time for the calf to test
its new tongue on its mother's body,
the wrong key does not lock
and the knif e rus ts far
into the pal e hea th of dawn
which blossoms out of the obl ivion
with the early morning's fearful red.
4 9

Wenn
wie Rauch der Schlaf auszieht aus dem Leib,
und der Mensch geheimn isgesattigt
die abgetriebene Mahre des Streites
aus dem Stalle tr eibt,
begi nnt die feuerschnauben de Verb indung aufs neue
und der Tod erwac ht in jeder Maienknospe
und das Kind kiisst einen Stein
in der St ernver dunkelun g.
50

When
sleep leaves the body like smoke
and man, sated with secrets,
drives the overwork ed nag of qua rrel
out of i ts stal l,
then the fire-brea thing union begins anew
and death wakens in ever y bud of May
and the child kisses a stone
in the eclipse of the stars.
J I

Nach
t,Na cht
Na cht, Nacht,
dass du nicht in Sch erben zerspri ngst,
nun wo die Zeit mit den reissenden Sonnen
des Martyriums
in deine r meerg edeckten Tiefe unte rgeht­
die Monde des Todes
das stiir zende Erdendach
in deines Schweig ens geronnenes Blut ziehn -
Na cht, Nacht,
einmal warst du der Gehe imnisse Braut
sc ha ttenl iliengesch miickt-
In deinem dunklen Glase glitzerte
die Fata Morgana der Sehnsiich tigen
und die Liebe hatte ihre Morgenrose
dir zum Erbliihen hinges tellt -
Ei nmal warst du der Traummal ereien
je nseiti ger Spie gel und orakelnder Mund-
Na cht, Nacht,
je tzt bist du der Friedhof
fiir eines Sternes schrec klichen Schiffbruch geworden­
sprac hlos taucht die Zeit in dir unter
m it ihr em Zei�he n :
Der stiirzende Stein
und die Fahne aus Rauch !

Nigh
t_, ni gh t
�i ght, ni ght,
that you may not shatter in frag ments
no w when time sinks with the ravenous suns
of martyrdom
in your sea-covered depths­
the moons of death
drag the falling roof of earth
into the cong ealed blood of your silence.
Nig ht, night,
onc e you were the bride of my steries
adorned with lilies of shado w-
In your dark glass sparkl ed
the mirage of all who yearn
and love had set its morn ing rose
to blossom before you-
You wer e once the orac ular mout h
of drea m painting and mirrored the beyond .
Ni ght, ni gh t,
now you are the graveyard
for the terr ible shipwreck of a star­
time sinks speech less in you
wit h its sign :
The falling stone
and the flag of smok e.
53

Au
f dass die Ve rfolg ten nicht Verfo lger werden
Schritte- In welchen Grotten der Echos
seid ihr bewahrt,
die ihr den Ohren einst weissagtet
kommenden Tod?
Schritte-
Ni cht Vo gel fiu g, noch Schau der Eingeweide,
noch der blutschwitzende Mars
gab des Orakels T odesausku nft mehr­
nur Schritte-
Schritte- Urzei tspiel von Henker und Opfer,
V erfolger und V erfo lg ten ,
J ag er und Gejagt-
Sc hri tte
die die Zei t reissend machen
die Stun de mit \Volf en behan gen,
dem Fli.ichtl ing die Flucht ausloschen
im Blut e.
Schri tte
die Zeit zahle nd mit Schreien, Seufzem,
Aust ritt des Blut es bis es gerinnt,
T odesschweiss zu Stun den hauf end-
54

That
the persecuted may not become persecutor s
Foots teps-
In which of Echo's grottoes
are you preserved,
you who once prophesied aloud
the coming of death?
Footsteps -
Ne ither bird-fl ight, inspection of entrails,
nor Mars sweating blood
confirmed the oracl e's messa ge of death­
only footsteps -
Footsteps -
Ag e-old game of hangm an and victim,
Persecutor and persecuted,
Hunt er and hunted-
Footsteps which turn time ravenous
emblazon ing the hour with wolves
exting uishin g the flight in the fugi tive's
blood.
F ootsteps
measuring time with screams, groans,
the seeping of blo od until it congeals,
he aping up hours of sweaty death-
55

Schritte
der Henket·
ti ber Schri tten der Opf er,
Sekund enzeiger im Gang der Erde,
von wel chem Schw arzmond schrecklich gezoge n?
In der M usik der Spha ren
wo schrill t euer Ton?

St
eps of hang men
over the steps of victims,
w hat black moon pulled with such terror
the sweep-hand in ear th's orbit?
Whe re does your note shrill
in the music of the spheres?
57

We
nn die Prop heten ein brachen
Wenn die Propheten einbrachen
dur ch Ti.i ren der Nacht,
den Tierkreis der Damonengot ter
wie einen schauerlichen Bl umenk ranz
urns Haupt gewu nden-
die Geheimn isse der sti.irzenden und sich hebe nden
Hi mmel mit den Schul tern wiegend-
fi.ir die langst vom Schauer Fortgezog enen-
Wenn die Proph eten einbrachen
dur ch Ti.i ren der Nacht,
die Stern enstrassen gezogen in ihren HandfHi chen
go lden aufleuch ten lassend-
fi.ir die langst im Schlaf Versunkenen-
Wenn die Propheten einbrachen
durch Ti.iren der Nacht
mit ihren Worten \Vun den reissend
in die Felder der Gew ohnheit,
ein weit Entlegenes hereinhol end
fi.ir den Tageloh ner
der langst nicht mehr wartet am Abend-

If
the prophet s br oke in
If the prophets broke in
thr ough the doors of nigh t,
the zodiac of demon gods
wound like a ghastly wreat h of flowers
round the head-
ro ckin g the secrets of the falling and risin g
skies on their shoulders-
for those who long since fled in terror-
If the prophets broke in
thro ugh the doors of night,
the course of the stars scored in their palms
gl owing golden-
fo r those long sunk in sleep-
If the prophets broke in
through the doors of night
teari ng wound s with their words
into fields of habit,
a distant crop hauled home
for the laborer
who no longer waits at eveni ng-
59

Wenn
die Prophe ten einbra chen
durch Tiiren der Nacht
und ein Ohr wie eine Heimat suchten-
Ohr der Mensch heit
du nessel verwac hsenes,
wii rdest du horen?
Wenn die Stimme der Propheten
auf dem FlOteng ebein der ermor deten Ki nder
bl asen wiirde,
die vom Martyrersc hrei verbran nten Liif te
ausat mete-
wenn sie eine Briicke aus vere ndeten Greisenseuf zern
hau te-
Oh r der Mens chheit
du mit dem kleinen Lauschen beschaftigtes ,
wiirdest du horen ?
Wenn die Propheten
mit den Stu rmschwi ngen der Ewig keit hineinfii hren
wenn sie aufbrac hen deinen Gehorgang mit den Worten :
\Ver von euch will Krieg fiihren gegen ein Geheimnis
wer will den Stern tod erfinden?
\V enn die Propheten aufstanden
in der Nacht der Menschhe it
wie Liebende, die das Herz des Gel iebten suchen,
Na cht der Me nschheit
wii rdest du ein Herz zu verge ben haben?
6o

If
the proph ets broke in
th rough the doors of night
and sought an ear like a homel and-
Ear of mankind
overgrown with nettles ,
would you hear?
If the voice of the prophets
ble w
on flutes made of mur dered children 's bones
and exhaled airs burnt with
ma rtyrs' cries-
if they built a bridg e of old men's dying
groans-
Ear of mankind
occupied with small sounds ,
wou ld you hear?
I f the prophets
rushed in with the storm-p inions of eterni ty
if they broke open your acoustic duct with the words :
Which of you wants to make war against a mys tery
who wants to inven t the star- death?
If the proph ets stood up
i n the night of mank ind
like lovers who seek the heart of the belo ved,
night of mankin d
would you have a heart to offer?
6I

Hio
b
0 du Wind rose der Qual enl
Von Urzeitsti. irmen
in immer and ere Richtu ngen der Unwet ter gerissen ;
n och dein Si.iden heisst Einsamke it.
W o du stehst, ist der Nabel der Schmerze n.
Deine Augen sind tie£ in dei nen Schadel gesunken
wie Hohlentauben in der Nacht
die der Jager blind heraushol t.
Deine Stimme ist stumm geworden,
denn sie hat zuviel Warum gefragt.
Zu den Wi.irmern und Fischen ist deine Stimme eingegange n.
Hi ob, du hast aile N ach twa chen durchw eint
aber einmal wird das Ster nbild deines Blu tes
aile aufgehenden Sonnen erbleichen lassen .

fo b
0 you windr ose of ago nies !
Swept by pri mord ial storm s
al ways into other direc tions of inclemency ;
even your South is called lonel iness.
Whe re you stand is the navel of pain.
Yo ur eyes have sunk deep into yo ur skull
li ke cave doves which the hunter
fetches blindl y at night.
Your voice has gone dumb,
having too often asked why.
Your voice has joined the worms and fishes.
Jo b, you have cried through all vigils
but one day the constel lation of your blood
shal l make all rising suns blanc h.

W
arum die schw arze A nt wor t de s H asses
Warum die schwarze Antwort des Hasses
auf dein Dasein, Israel ?
Frem dling du,
einen Stern von weiterher
als die anderen .
Verka uft an die se Erde
damit Einsamke it fort sich erbe.
De ine Herkunft verwachsen mit Unkraut ­
deine Sterne vertauscht
gegen alles was Motten und Wiir mern gehort,
und doch von den Traumsandu fern der Zeit
wie Mondwasser fortgeholt in die Fern e.
Im Chore der ander en
hast du gesung en
einen Ton hoher
oder einen Ton tiefer-
der Abendsonne hast du dich ins Blut geworfen
wie ein Schme rz den anderen sucht.
Lang ist dein Schatten
und es ist spate Zeit fi.ir dich geworden
Is ra el!

Wh
y the black answer of hate
Why the black answer of hat e
to your ex�stence, Israel?
Y ou stranger
from a star one farthe r away
than the othe rs.
Sold to this earth
that lonel iness might be passed on.
Your origin entangled in weeds­
your stars bartered
for all that belong s to moths and worms,
and yet: fetched away from dreamfil led sandy shores of time
li ke moonwate r in to the distance.
In the othe rs' choir
you always sang
one note lower
or one note higher-
you flung yourself into the blood of the evening sun
li ke one pain seeking the other.
Long isyour shadow
and it has become late for you
Is ra eli

Wie
weit dein Weg von der Segnung
den Aon der Tranen entlang
his zu der Wegb iegung
da du in Asche gefalle n,
dein Feind mit dem Rauch
deines verbran nten Leibes
deine Todverl assenheit
an die Stirn des Himm els schri ebl
0 sol che r Tod l
Wo alle helfenden Engel
mit blut enden Schwingen
zer rissen im Stachel draht
der Zeit hingen l
Warum die schw arze Antwort des Hasses
auf dein Dasein
Is rael ?
66

Ho
w far your way from the blessing
al ong the aeon of tears
to the bend of the road
where you turned to ashes
and your enemy with the smoke
of your burned body
en graved your mortal abandonment
on the brow of heaven !
0 such a death !
When all he! ping an gels
with bleedi ng wings
hung tattered
in the barbed wire of time !
vVhy the black answer of hate
to your existence
Israel ?

Is
rael
Is ra el,
namenloser einst,
noch von des T odes Efeu umspo nnen,
arb eitete geheim die Ewig keit in dir, traumtief
bestie gst du
der Mondtiir me mag ische Spirale,
die mit Tiermasken verhiillten Gesti rne
um kreisend-
in der Fische Mirakel stummh eit
oder mit des \Vidders anstiirmender Harte.
Bis der versiegelte Himmel aufbrac h
und du,
\Vagh alsigster unter den Nacht wandl ern,
getroffen von der Gotteswunde
in den Abgrund aus Licht fielst-
Israel ,
Ze nit der Sehnsuc ht,
ge hauf t iibe r deinem Haupte
ist das \Vunder wie Gewit ter,
entladt sich im Schm erzgebirge deiner Zeit.
Is rael ,
erst zart, wie das Lied der Vogel
und leidender Kinder Gesprache
rinnt des lebendig en Got tes Quel le
heim atlich aus deinem Blut-
68

Israel
Is rael ,
more namel ess then ,
still ensna reHuin the ivy of i­"\V-; u
in you etern ity worked secretly, dr eam-de ep
you moun ted
the enchan teHuspiral of the moon towers,
cir cling the cons tellations disguised
by anima l masks-
in the mut e mirac ulous silence of Pisces
or the battering charges of Ari es.
Until the sealed sky broke open
and you,
most i"\Vi­U­A u of sleepwalkers,
fe ll, struck by the wounHu of God
int o the abyss of ligh t-
Isr ael,
zen ith of long ing,
wo ni­iu is heapeHu
like a storm upon your heai u
breaks in your time's mou ntains of pain.
Is rael ,
tende r at first, like the song of a bird
and the talk of sufferi ng chil ii­ u
the source of the living God,
a na tive spring ,
flows from your blood.

Za
hlen
Als eure Formen zu Asche versanken
in die Nachtme ere,
wo Ewig keit in die Gezeiten
Leben und Tod spiilt-
erh oben sich Zahl en-
(gebr annt einmal in eure Anne
da mit niemand der Qual entging e)
erhoben sich Mete ore aus Zahl en,
ge ru fen in die Raume
darin Lichterjahre wie Pfeile sich strecken
und die Planeten
a us den magischen Stoffen
des Schmerzes geboren werden-
Za hle n-mit ihren Wur zeln
au� 1\Wrderg ehirnen gezogen
und schon eingere chnet
in des himml ischen Kreislaufs
bla ugeaderte r Bahn.
jO

Nu
mbers
When your forms tu rnc d to ashes
int � the �ceans �; nigh t
wher e etern ity washes
lif e and death into the tides-
there r�o- the num bers-
(onc:e branded int� yo ur arms
s� none would escape the agony)
ther e r�o( meteors �< numb ers
bec koned into the spaces
wher e ligh t-years expand lik e ar rows
and the planets
are born
�= the magic substanc es of pain-
num bers-root and all
pl ucked out of mu rder ers' br ains
and part already
o f the heaven ly cycle's
path of blue veins.

I
>a ,
ill dr·11 Faltc ·11 dir !!t'!! Stnl l�.
1.11 )..\t'd rc kt mit ri11r111 l•'rtz rll Nad�^
!!lrlu ·11 sir, uwl wartc·11 (;ott a h.
lhr Mu11d hat f'i11 l>om vrnu hlossr11,
ilu r Spr ac hr ist a11 ihr� Al l).\t'l l v�rloren��; ���;an�en,
di r n·d r·11 wir lhllllll t'll
da ri11 rill l.ricl �=lalll t'l'tlllllk� n ist.
() die· Al lrll,
di r il11 r vnhr alllltt· N; u hl ol).\ � in den Au�t:ll tra gt-n
als rimi ).\t'll lksi tz .
.., '
I -

Ol
d men
Th ere
in the folds of this sta r
cove red wit h ta tters of night
they stand and wa it for Cod.
A thorn has dosed their mou ths,
they speak on ly wi th their eyes,
they spea k l ik e a wel l
in wh ic h a corp se has drow ned.
0 the old men
who carry the ir burnt succession in their ey es
as the ir sole possess ion.
73

We
lt,fra ge ni ch t di e To dent rissenen
Wel t, frage nicht die Toden trissenen
woh in sie gehen,
sie gehen immer ihrem Grabe zu.
Das Pflas ter der fremden Stadt
war nicht fiir die Musik von Fliichtl ingssc hritten gelegt
worden -
Die Fenster der Hauser, die eine Erdenze it spie geln
mit den wandernden Gabentischen der Bil derb uchh immel­
wurden nicht fi.ir Augen geschl iffen
die den Schrecken an seine r Quei ie tranken .
Wel t, die Falte ihres Lachelns hat ihnen ein st arkes Eisen
aus gebran nt;
sie moch ten so gerne zu dir kommen
urn dein er Schonheit wegen,
aber wer heimatl os ist, dem welken aile Wege
wie Schni ttblumen hin-
A her, es ist uns in der Fremde
eine Freun din gewor den: die Abendsonn e.
Eing esegnet von ihrem Marterlicht
sind wir geladen zu ihr zu kommen mit unsere r Trauer,
die neben uns geht:
Ein Psalm der Nacht .
7 4

Wo
rld,
do not ask tho se snatch ed fro m death
Wor ld, do not ask tho se snat ched from death
where they are go ing,
the y are always going to thei r graves .
The pavements of the fore�Hu c�ty
were not laid for the mus ic of fug�i ve foot steps­
The windows of the hou ses that reflect a lifetime
of shifting tables heape d with gifts from a p�t ure-book
he aven­
were not cut for eyes
which drank terror at its source.
Worl d, a strong iron has cauterized the wrinkl e of their
smil e;
they would like to come to you
beca use of your beauty,
but for the homeless all ways wither
like cut flowers-
But we have fou nd a fr iend
in exi le: the even ing sun.
Bl essed by its suffering light
we are bidden to come to it with our sorrow
which walks beside us:
A psalm of nigh t.
75

Au
f den Land stra.ss en der Erde
Auf den Landstrassen der Erde
li egen die Kinder
mit den Wur zeln
aus der Muttererde gerissen .
Das Licht der erl os chenen Liebe
ist ihr er Hand entfal len
de ren Leere sich mit Wind fi.illt.
Wenn der �  aller Waisen,
der Abend, mit ihnen
aus allen Wunden blutet
und ihre zitternden Schatten
die herzzer reissende Angst
ih rer Leib er abmalen-
fa lle n sie pi<>tzl ich hinab in die Nacht
wie in den Tod .
Aber im Schme rzgebirge der Morgendammerung
sterben ihnen Vater und Mutter
wi eder und immer wieder.

The
childr en lie
The children lie
on all the roads of eanh
tom by the roots
from mothe r ea rth.
The ligh t of extingu ished love
has fallen from their hands,
wind fills the empty hands.
·when evening , fa the r
of all orphans, bleeds
with them from all wounds
and their trembling shadows
mimic the heartb reak ing fear
of their bodies-
they plung e suddenly into ni ght
as though into death.
But at dawn in the hills of pain
they see their fathe rs and mothe rs
dying again and again.
77

0
die He imat losen Farben des Ab endhimmel s!
0 die Heima tlosen Farben des Abendhimme lsl
0 die Bliit en des Sterbens in den Wolken
wie der Neugeborenen �b leichen !
0 der Schwa! ben Ratself ragen
an das Geheim nis-
der Maven entmenschter Schrei
aus der Schopfu ngszeit -
Woher wir Obrig gebl iebenen aus Sternver dunkel ung?
Woher wir mit dem Licht tiber dem Haupte
dessen Schatten Tod uns anmal t?
Die Zeit rauscht von unse rem Heimweh
wie eine Muschel
und das Feuer in der Tief e der Erde
weiss schon urn unseren Zerfall-

0
the homel ess color s of the even ing sk y!
0 the home less colors of the even ing sky!
0 the blos soms of death in the clouds
li ke the pal e dying of the newly born !
0 the riddles that the swallo ws
ask the myste ry-
th e inhum an cry of the gulls
from the day of crea tion-
Whence we survi vors of the stars ' dar kening?
Whence we with the light above our heads
who se shadow death paints on us?
Time roars with our longing for home
li ke a seashell
and the fire in the dep ths of the earth
already kn ows of our ruin-
79

Nun
hat A br aham die Wurze l der Winde gefasst
Nu n hat Abraham die \Vurzel der \Vinde gefasst
denn heimkehren wird Isr ael aus der Zerstr euung.
Ein gesamm elt hat es \Vu nden und Martern
auf den Hafen der Wel t,
abgewe int aile versc hlossenen Tiiren.
Seine Alten, den Erden kleidern fast entwac hsen
und wie Meerpflanzen die Gl ieder streckend,
einbal samiert im Salz e der �rzweiflung
und die Klagemauer Nacht im Arm­
werden noch einen kleinen Schlaf tun-
Aber die Jun gen haben die Sehnsuch tsfahne entfaltet,
de nn ein Acker will von ihnen geliebt werden
und eine \Viiste getran kt
und nach der Sonnenseite Gott
sol len die Haus er geb aut werden
und der Abend hat wieder das veilchens cheue \Vort,
das nur in der Heimat so blau bereitet wir d:
Gut e Na chtl
So

Now A
braham has seized the root of the wind s
Now Abraham has seized the root of the wi nds
for home shall Is rael come from the di spers ion.
It has gathered wounds and afflictions
in the cou rtyards of the worl d,
has bathed all locked doors with its tears.
It s el ders , having almost outgrown their earthly garb
and extending their limbs like sea plan ts,
embalmed in the salt of despair
and the wailing wall nigh t in their arms­
will sleep just a sp ell longer -
But youth has unfurled its flag of longing,
for a fiel d yearns to be loved by them
and a desert watered
and the house shall be built
to face the sun : God
and even ing aga in has the viol et-shy word
that only gro ws so blu e in the homel and:
Good night!

Du sitzt am Fenster
Du sitzt am Fenst er
und es sch neit ­
dein Haar ist weiss
und deine H;inde -
ab er in den heiden Spiegeln
deines weissen Gesichts
hat sich der Sommer erhalten:
La nd. fiir die ins Unsichtbare erhobenen Wiesen­
Tr; inke, fiir Schatt enrehe zur Na cht.
Ab er klagend sinke ich in deine ·weisse,
deinen Schnee-
aus dem sich das Leben so Ieise entf ernt
wie nach einem zu Ende gesproc henen Gebet-
0 einz uschl afen in deinem Schnee
mit allem Leid im Feu eratem der Wel t.
\V ;iluend die zartcn Linien deine s Hau ptes
s dwn fonsinken in Me eresnac ht
zu ncuer Gebur t.

l'
ou sil by the window
Yo u sit by the wind ow
and it is sno wing ­
yo ur hair is whit e
and your h;md s-
hut in both mirrors
of yo ur wh ite face
summer has bee n main tained :
Land for meadows raised into the invisi ble­
potions for sha dow deer at nigh t.
But mou rning I sink into your whiteness,
yo ur snow-
whi ch life leaves ever so quie tly
as after a pr ayer spoke n to th e e nd -
0 to fal l asleep in yo u r s now
with all my g rie f in the fiery brea th of the worl d.
Wh ile the delicate line s on your brow
drown already in the ocean of night
for a new birth .
8;

We
nn der Tag leer wird
Wenn der Tag leer wird
in der Dammerung,
wenn die bilderl ose Zeit begin nt,
die einsamen Stimmen sich verb inden­
die Tie re nicht s als Jagende sind
oder gejagt -
die Blumen nur noch Duft-
wenn alles namenlos wird wie am Anfang ­
gehst du unt er die Katakomben der Zeit,
die sich auftun denen, die nahe am Ende sind­
dart wo die Herzke ime wachse n-
in die dunkle Innerl ichk eit hinab
sinkst du-
schon am T ode vorbei
der nur ein wind iger Durchgang ist­
und schl agst frierend vom Ausgang
deine Augen auf
in denen schon ein neuer St ern
seinen Abglanz gelassen hat-

Wh
en day gro ws empt y
When day grows empty
at dusk,
when the imag eless time begins,
the lonely voices combine-
the animals are hun ters only
or hun ted-
the flowers mere fragrance-
when everyth ing becomes nameless as at the beginn ing­
the n you go beneath the catacombs of time
that open for those nearing the end-
there where the heart has its incep tion-
down into dark inwardness
you sink-
alre ady past death
that is only a wind y passage­
and free zing with exi t
you open your eyes
in which a new star
already has left its reflection-

Am
A bend weitet sich dein Blick
Am Abend weitet sich dein Blick
sieht tiber Mitternacht hinaus­
dopp elt bin ich vor dir-
grtine Knospe, die aus vertroc knetem Kelch blatt steigt,
in dem Zimmer darin wir zwei Welten angehor en.
Du reichst auch schon weit tiber die Toten,
die hiesigen .
Weisst urn das Aufg ebltihte
aus der ratsel umrindeten Erde.
Wie im Mu tterl eib das Ung eborene
mit dem Urlicht auf dem Haupt e
randlos sieht
von Stern zu Stern-
So ftiesst Ende zum Anfang
wie ein Schwane nschrei.
\V ir sind in einem Krankenzimm er.
Aber die N ac ht gehort den Engel nl
86

In
the evenin g your vi sion widens
In the evening your vision widens
lo oks out beyond midnigh t­
two fold I st and before you-
green bud rising out of dried- u p sepal ,
in the room where we are of two worlds.
You too already extend far beyond the dead,
thos e who are here,
an d know of what has flowered
out of the earth with its bar k of enig ma.
As in the womb the unborn
with the primord ial li gh t on its brow
has the rimless view
from star to star -
So ending flows to beg innin g
like the cry of a sw an.
We are in a sickroo m.
But the night belo ngs to the angels.

Wo
hin 0 wohi n
'Voh in 0 wohin
du Wel tall der Sehnsucht
das in der Raupe schon dunke l verz aube rt
die Fl iigel spannt,
mit den Flossen der Fische
immer den Anfang besc hreibt
in Wasser tiefen, die
ein einz iges Herz
aus messen kann mit dem Senkbl ei
der Trauer.
Wohin o woh in
du vVe ltall der Sehnsucht
mit der Traume verlorenen Erdre ichen
und der gesprengten Blutbahn des Leibes;
wahrend die Seel e zusammeng efalt et wartet
auf ihre Ne ugeburt
unt er dem Eis der Todesmas ke.
88

Wh
ither 0 whither
Whit her 0 whi ther
you universe of longing
spread ing your wings in the chry salis
al ready darkly enchan ted,
always describing the beginning
with the fins of fishes
in the wate ry depths which
a singl e heart
can sound with the plummet
of sorro w.
Whithe r 0 whit her
you universe of longing
wi th the dreams of lost earth s
and the burst vein of the body;
while the soul, fo ld ed, waits
to be born again
under the ice of the death mask.
8g

Sch
met terlin g
Welch schones Jense its
ist in deinen Staub gemalt.
Du rch den Flammenke rn der Erde,
du rch ihre stein erne Schal e
wurdest du gere icht,
Abs chie dswebe in der Vergangl ichkeiten Mass.
Schmett errding
alle r Wesen gute Nac ht!
Die Gewichte von Leben und Tod
sen ken sich mit deinen Fl i.ig eln
auf die Rose nieder
die mit dem heimwarts reifenden Licht welkt.
We lch schones Jense its
ist in deinen Staub gemalt.
We lch Kc>nigsze ichen
im Geheimnis d er Luft.

But
terfly
·what lovely afterm ath
is pa inted in your dust.
You ·were led through the flaming
core of earth,
through its stony shell,
webs of far ewel l in the transient measure .
Butt erfly
bl essed night of all being s !
The weights of life and death
sink down with your wings
on the rose
which withers with the light ripening homewards.
'Vhat lovely afterm ath
is painted in your dust.
'Vhat royal sign
in the secret of the air.

Volker
der Erde
Volker der Erde
ihr, die ihr euch mit der Kraft der unbeka nnten
Gestirne umwickelt wie Gamr ollen,
die ihr naht und wieder auftre nnt das Genahte,
die ihr in die Sprachverwirrung steigt
wie in Bie nenkorbe,
urn im Siissen zu stechen
und gestochen zu werden-
Volker der Erde,
zerstoret nicht das "\Vel tall der Worte,
zersc hneidet nicht mit den Messern des Hasses
den Laut, der mit dem Atem zugleich geboren wurde.
Vol ker der Erde ,
0 dass nicht Einer Tod meine, wenn er Leben sagt­
und nicht Einer Blut , wenn er "\Viege spricht-
Vol ker der Erde,
!a sset die "\Vorte an ihrer Quelle,
denn sie sind es, die die Horizonte
in die wahr en Himmel riicken konnen
un d mit ihrer abgewandten Seite
wie eine Maske dahint er die Nacht gahnt
die Sterne gebaren helfen-

Pe
oples of the earth
Peopl es of the earth,
you who swathe yours elves w�e uthe force of the unkno wn
co nst ella tions as with rolls of thread,
you who sew and sever what �vusewn,
you who enter the tangl e of tong ues
as into beeh ives,
to sting the sweetne ss
and be stung -
Peoples of the earth,
do not destroy the un�v erse of words,
let not the knife of hatred lacerate
the sound born toge ther with the first breath .
Peoples of the earth ,
0 that no one mean death when he says life­
and not blood when he speaks cradle-
Pe opl es of the eart h,
leave the wor ds at thei r sou rce,
for it is they that can nudge
the horizons into the true he aven
and that, with ni ght gaping behind
their averted side, as behind a mask,
help give bir th to the stars-
93

Wir
uben heute schon den Tod von morgen
Wir i.iben heute schon den Tod von morgen
wo noch das alte Sterben in uns welkt-
0 Angst der Mensch heit nicht zu i.iberstehn-
0 Todgewoh nung bis hinein in Tra ume
wo Nacht ger i.ist in schwarze Scherben fallt
und beine rn Mond in den Ruin en leuchtet -
0 Angst der Menschheit nicht zu i.iberstehn-
Wo sind die sanften Ruteng anger
Ruh e-Engel, die den verbor gnen Quell
uns angeri.ihrt, der von der Mi.idigke it
zum Sterben rinnt?
9-1

We
rehe arse tomor row's death even today
·we rehea rse tomorrow 's death even today
while the old dying still wilts within us-
0 humanity's dread not to endure-
0 death- accusto ming down into dreams
wh ere night scaffolding breaks int o bla ck fragm ents
and moon glows like bones on the ruins-
0 hu man ity's dread not to endur e-
'V here are you , ge ntle dowsers,
peace angels that used to touch
the hidden source for us
that flows from wearine ss
into death.
95

An
d No One Knows How
to Go On

Das
ist der Fliich tlin ge Plan etenstunde
Das ist der Fliichtl inge Planetenstunde.
Das ist der Fliichtl inge reissende Flucht
in die Fall sucht, den Tod !
Das ist der Sternf all a us magischer V erhaftung
der Schw elle, des Herdes, des Brots.
Das ist der schw arze Apfel der Erk enntnis,
die Ang st! Erl oschene Liebessonne
die raucht! Das ist die Blume der Eile,
schweissbet ropft! Das sind die Jager
aus Nichts, nur aus Flucht.
Das sind Gejagte, die ih re tod lichen Verstecke
in die Graber tragen.
Das ist der Sand, erschrocken
mit Girlanden des Abs chieds.
Das ist der Erde Vorstoss ins Freie,
ihr stockender Atem
in der Demut der Luft.

That
is the fugi tives' plane tary hour
Tha t is the fugitives' planetary hour.
That is the fugi tives' rending flight
into epilepsy, death !
That is the star's fall from its magic fastness
in the thre shold, bread and hearth.
That is the black apple of knowled ge:
Fear ! Exting uished sun of love
th at smokes ! That is the flower of haste
sweat-soak ed! Those are the hun ters
of nothin gness, only of flig ht.
Those are the hun ted who carry their dea dly shel ters
with them into their grave .
That is the sand, startled
with garlands of parting.
That is the earth's thru st into freedom,
its halt ing breath
in the humble air.
99

Einen
Akkor d sp iel en Ebbe und Flut
Ei nen Akkord spielen Ebbe und Flut,
Ja ger und Gejagtes.
Mit viele n Ha nden
wird Greifen und Befestig ung versucht,
Blut ist der Faden.
Fing er weisen Aufstellungen,
Korpe rteile werden eingesetzt
in sterb ende Zeichnungen.
St ra tegi e,
Geruch des Leidens-
Gl ieder auf dem "\Vege zum Staub
und die Gischt der Sehnsuc ht
ii ber den Wassern.
IO O

Eb
b and flood strike a chor d
Ebb and flood strike a chord,
hunte r and hunted.
Many hands seek to grasp
and strengt hen,
blood is the thread.
Fingers point out formatio ns,
body parts are depl oyed
in dying delineations.
Strateg y,
smell of suff ering-
L imbs on the road to dust
and the foam of longing
over the waters.
IOI

Wer
weiss, wo die Sterne stehn
Wer weiss, wo die Sterne stehn
in des Schopf ers Her rlichkei tsordn ung
und wo der Friede beginnt
und ob in der Trag odie der Erde
die blut ig ger issene Kieme des Fisches
bestimmt ist,
das Ster nbild Marter
mit seinem Rubinrot zu erganzen,
den ersten Buchstaben
der wortlosen Sprache zu schreiben-
Wohl besitzt Lie be den Blick,
der durch Gebeine fahrt wie ein Blitz
und begleitet die Toten
iiber den Atemz ug hin aus-
a her wo die Abgelosten
ihren Reic htu m hinl egen,
ist unbekannt.
Him beeren verraten sich im schwa rzesten ·wald
durch ihren Duft ,
aber der Toten abgele g te Seelenlast
verra t sich keinem Suche n-
und kann doch beftiigelt
zwis chen Beton oder Atomen zittern
oder immer da,
wo eine Stelle fi.ir Herzkl opf en
aus gelassen war.
I02

Who
knows where the star s stan d
Who knows where the stars stand
in the creator 's order of glory
a nd where peace begins
and if in the tragedy of earth
the torn bloody gill of the fish
is inte nded
to supplement with its ruby red
the constel lation of Torment)
to write the first letter
of the wordless language-
True , love has the look
whic h strikes through bones like lightning
and accompa nies the dead
beyond the final breath-
but where the super seded
le ave their fortune
is unknown.
Ra spberries betray their presence by their scent
in the darkest wood,
but no search will reveal
the agonies the dead have laid aside
an d which can still quicken and tremble
between atoms and concrete
or there, always,
whe re a pl ace has been left
fo r heartb eats.
I03

Erde�
Planeten gre is� du saugst an meinem Fuss
Erde, Planet engreis, du saugst an meinem Fuss,
der fliegen will,
o Konig Lear mit der Einsamk eit im Arme.
N ach inn en weinst du mit den Meeresaugen
die Leidenst riimmer
in die Seel enwel t.
Auf deine r Silbe rlocken Jahrmillionen
den Erdrauch kranz, Wahnsinn gestirnt
im Brandg eruch.
Und deine Kinder ,
die schon deinen T odessch atten werfen,
da du dich drehst und drehst
auf deiner Sterne nstel le,
M ilchst rassen bet tier
mit dem Wind als Blindenhund.

Eart
h� old man of the planet s� you suck at my foot
Earth, old man of the planet s, you suck at my foot
which wants to fly,
0 King Lear embracing loneline ss.
Wi th sea-eyes you weep
the rubble of suff ering
into realms of the soul within.
On the mill ennia of your silver locks
the wreathed smoke of earth, madness crowned
in the smell of bu rning.
And your children
who al ready cast the shadow of your death,
as you turn and turn
in you r place among the stars,
beggar of the Milky Way
with the wind as guide -dog.
IOJ

In
einer Landschaft aus Musik
In eine r Landschaft a us M usik,
in eine r Sprache nur aus Licht,
in eine r Glo rie,
die das Blut
sich mit der Sehnsucht Zunge angeziindet ,
dort wo die Haut e,
Augen, Horizonte,
wo Hand und Fuss
schon ohne Zeichen sind,
dort wo des Sand elbaumes Duft
schon holzlos schwebt
und Atem baut an jenem Raume weiter,
der nur a us iibe rtre tnen Schw ellen ist-
Hi er wo ein rotes Abendtuch
den Stier des Lebens reizt
bis in den Tod,
hier liegt mein Schatten,
eine Hand der Nacht,
d ie m it des schwar zen Jagers Jageg eist
des Elut es roten Vogel
angesch ossen hat.
I06

In
a lan dscape of mu sic
In a la ndsca pe of music,
in a lang uage only of light,
in an aureol e
that blood has lighted
with its yearn ing tong ue,
where skin,
eyes, horizons,
whe re hand and foot
already are without token,
where the sandal tree's fragrance
hovers woodless in the air
and breath builds on to that room
consisting only of thresholds that have been surpa ssed-
Here where a red evening muleta
lu res the bull of life
to his death,
here lies my shadow,
a hand of the nigh t,
that has wounded the red bird of blood
with the black hunter's hunting spirit.

Hier
und da ist die Later ne der Barmherzigkeit
Hie r un d da �!gud�
u Laterne der Barmherz�g keit
zu den Fischen zu stell en,
wo der Angel haken geschluckt
oder das Ersticken geiibt wird.
Do rt ist das Gestirn der Qualen
erl osung sreif geword en.
Oder dah�l u
wo Lie ben de s�+-u we he tun,
Li eben de,
die doch immer nahe am Sterben s�&U u
1 08

Her
e and there the lant ern of co mpassion
He re and there the lantern of compassi on
can be shown to the fish,
where the fishho ok is swallowed
or suff ocation practiced.
Th ere the star of angui sh
has grown ripe for rede mption.
Or th ere,
where lovers hurt each other,
Lovers,
who are always close to dying.

In
der blauen Ferne
In der blauen Ferne,
wo die rote Apfel baumal lee wandert
mit himmel besteigenden Wurzelfiissen,
wir d die Sehnsucht destilliert
fUr Aile die im Tale leben.
Die Sonne, am Wegesrand liegend
mit Zaube rstaben,
ge bietet Halt den Reisenden.
Die bleiben stehn
im glasernen Al btraum,
wahrend die Gril le fein kratzt
am U nsich tbaren
und der Stein seinen St aub
t anzend in Musik verwandelt.
IIO

In
the blue distance
In the blue di stance
where the red row of apple trees wande rs
-roo ted feet climbing the sky-
the longing is dist illed
for all those who live in the val ley.
Th e sun, I ying by the roadside
with magic wands,
commands the travel ers to halt.
They stand still
in the glassy nigh tm are
whil e the cricke t sc ratches softly
at the invis ible
and the stone dancing
changes its dust to music.
III

Un
d wi r� die ziehen
Und wir, die ziehen
iiber aile Blatt er der Windrose hinweg
schweres Erbe in die Fernen.
Ich hier,
wo Erde schon angesichtslos wird
der Pol,
des Todes weisser Bie nensaug
in der Stille weisse Blatter fal lt
der Elch,
lug end durch blaue Vorhange,
bl ass gebriitetes Sonnenei
zwisc hen seinen Schaufeln tragt-
Hie r, wo Meeres zeit
sich verm ummt mit Eisbe rgm asken
unt er letzten Sterns
gefrore nem '\Vun dmal
hi er an die ser St elle
aus setzt e ich die Koralle,
die blut ende,
deiner Botschaft.
II 2

An
d we who move awa y
And we who move away
beyond all leaves of the windrose
he avy inhe ritance into the distanc e.
My self here,
whe re earth is losing its lineament s
the Pole ,
death 's whit e dead nettl e
fal ls in the still ness of white leaves
the elk,
peering through bl ue curtains ,
bet ween his antlers bea rs
a sun -egg hatched pale-
He re, whe re ocean time
camou flages itsel f with iceberg masks
under the last star's
frozen stigma
he re at this place
I expose the coral,
the one that bleeds
wit h your message.
II)

Be
reit sind alle Lander aufzustehn
Be reit sind aile Lander aufzustehn
von der Land karte.
Abzu schiitteln ihr e Ste rnenhaut
die blauen Biindel ihrer Meere
auf dem Riicken zu kniipf en
ihre Berge mit den Feuerwurzeln
als M iitzen auf die rauch enden Haare zu setzen.
Ber eit das letzte Schwermu tgewicht
im Koff er zu trag en, diese Schmet terlingspuppe,
auf deren Fl iig eln sie die Reise einmal
beenden werden.
II 4

A
ll lan ds are read y to rise
All lands are ready to rise
from the map.
To shake off their skin of stars
to tie the blue bundles of their seas
on their backs
to set their mountains with fie ry roots
as caps on their smok ing hair.
Ready to carry the last weight
of melancholy in a suit case, this chrysal is
on the wings of which they will one day
end the jour ney. II5

V
er ges sen heit! H aut
Vergess enheit ! Haut ,
dar aus Neug eborenes gewickel t w�r d
und Sterbel aken,
das die weiss schl afenden He�z-oc

wie der ausleihen.
Zuweilen auf letzter Landzu nge
des Elutes
das Nebel horn ert6nt
und der ertru nkene Matrose s�ngt
oder auf sandigem Landweg
Spur en lauf en
aus Sehnsucht slabar ynthen
wie zerbr ochene Schneckenhaus eMj u
Leere auf dem Ri.icken tragend-
Hi nter der Dammerung
Amsel musik
Tote tanzen
Bli.it enhalme des ·wind es-
II6

Ob
livio n! Skin
Obl ivion ! Skin
out of wh ich what is newborn is wound
and sheets for the dying
that the white sleepers
who bring it home
lend out again.
At times on the blood's
last spit of land
the foghorn resounds
and the drowned sailor sings
or on a sandy country path
tr ails of footsteps run
from laby rinths of longing
li ke broken snail shells
bearing emptiness on their back-
Behind the dusk
music of blackbir ds
The dead dance
flower stalks of the wind -
II7

Verw
unsch en ist alles zur Hiilfte
Verw unschen ist alle s zur Halfte.
Abwarts wandert das Licht
ins Hin tergriind ige-
kein Messer schuppt die Nacht.
Trost wohnt weit
hint er der Narbe aus Heimweh.
Viel leicht ,
wo anderes Griin mit Zun gen redet
und die Meere sich zeitlos iiberlassen.
Ausfahrt im Sterben
der Ratsel Kometenschweif ,
le uchtet,
wenn die Seel e
sich heimt astet an seinem Gelander.
'Vohl weiden Kiihe im Vordergr und,
Kle e duftet Honig
und der Schritt begrabt Engelverg essenes.
In der Stadt knatte rt Erwachen,
aber iiber Bri iccdgehn,
ist nu r, urn einen Arbei tsplatz zu erre ichen.
Auf der Strasse rasselt Mil ch in Kannen
fiir aile,
die den Tod als letzten Geschmack saugen.
II8

Bewitc
hed is hal f of ever ything
Bewit ched is ha1 f of ever ything.
Downw ard wanders the ligh t
int o obs curiti es-
no knif e uns cales the night.
Solace lives far
behind the homesickn ess scar.
Pe rhaps
whe re a different green speaks with tongu es
and the seas abandon themselves t imel essly.
The enigmas ' tr ail of com ets
erupts in death,
gl ows
when the soul
gr opes home alo ng its railing.
T ru e, cows graze in the foregro und,
cl over is fra gran t with honey
and the step buries what ang els forgo t.
Awak ening clangs in the city
but to cross bridges
is only to reach a job.
Mil k ra ttles in cans on the street
for all who imbib e death as the ir last taste.
II9

Di
e Lachmowe i.iber dem Wasser
hat noch einen Tropfen Wahnsinn
vom Hinter-d em-W ald-Leben
behalten.
Mel usine,
dein landl oser Teil
ist in unse rer Tr ane geborg en.
I20

The
laughing gull above the wate r
still has a drop of madness
from living -in-the-ba ckwoods .
Melusi ne,
yo ur landl ess part
is preserved in our tear.
I2I

Da
schrie b der Schr eiber des Sohar
Da schr ieb der Schreiber des Sohar
und off nete der "\Vorte Adern etz
und fiihrte Blut von den Gestir nen ein,
die kreisten unsichtbar, und nur
von Sehnsucht angeziindet.
Des Alphab etes Leiche hob sich aus dem Grab,
Buchstaben engel, ur altes Krist all,
mit Wasser tropfen von der Schopfung eingeschl ossen,
die sangen-und man sah durch sie
Rubin und Hyazinth und Lapis schimme rn,
als Stein noch weich war
u nd wie Blumen ausgesa t.
Und, schwar zer Tiger, briillte auf
die Nacht; und walzte sich
und blut ete mit Funk en
die \Vunde Tag.
Das Licht war schon ein Mund der schwi eg,
nur eine Aura noch den Seele ngott verriet.
I22

Then
wrote the scri be of The Soha r
Then wrote the scribe of The So har
op ening the words' mesh of veins
inst illing blood from stars
which circl ed, invisible, and ignited
only by yearn ing.
Th e alpha bet's corpse rose from the grave,
alphabet angel, anc ient crystal,
immured by creation in drops of water
that sang-and through them you saw
gl int�i u lap�s , ruby and jac int h,
when stone was still soft
and sown like flowers.
And night , the black tiger,
roa red ; and there tossed
and bled with sparks
the wound calle d day.
The ligh t was a mout h that did not speak,
only an aura intimated the soul- god n ow.
I23

Un
d wi ckett aus� als wiirens Linnentiic her
Und wickel t aus , als warens Linnentlicher,
darin Geburt und Tod ist eing ehtillt ,
Buchsta benleib, die Falterpuppe
aus grliner, rater, weisser Finst ernis
und wickelt wie der ein in Liebesl eiden
wie Mut ter tun ; denn Leiden ist Versteck fUrs Licht.
Do ch wahrend er wie Sommer oder Winter handel t,
schwebt schon Ersehntes, sehnsuch tsvoll verwand elt.
I24

An
d unw raps� as thou gh it were linen sheets
A nd unwraps, as thoug h it were linen sheets
in which birth and death are swathed,
the alphabet womb, chrysalis
of green and red and white obscurit y
and swad dles it ag ain in love-g rief
as mo thers do; for grief is a hiding place for ligh t.
Yet while like summer he behaves, or win ter,
yearned-for things al ready hover, yearnfully transf ormed.
I2 5

Land
schaft au s Sch reien
In der Nacht, wo Sterben Genahtes zu t­
lSfrS u beginnt,
reisst die Landschaft a us Schreien
den schwarzen Verband auf,
Ob er Moria, dem Klippenabs turz zu Gott,
schwe bt des Opferm essers Fahne
Abra hams Herz-Soh n-Schrei,
am grossen Ohr der Bibel liegt elu bewahM u
0 die Hierogl yphen aus Schreien,
an die Tod- Eingang stiir gezeichnet.
Wundkor allen aus zerbro chenen Kehlenfloten.
0, o Ha nde mit Ang stpflanzen finger,
ei nge graben in wil dbaumende Mahnen Opferblut es-
Schre ie, mit zerfetzten Kiefern der Fische verschlossen ,
Weher anke der kleinsten Kinder
und der schl uckenden Atemschleppe der Greise,
ei nger issen in versengtes Azur mit brenn enden Schweifen.
Zellen der Gefang enen, der Heil igen ,
mit Albtr aumm uster der Kehlen tapezierte,
fiebe rnde Holle in der Hundehi. itte des \Vahns inns
aus gefesse lten Spr i.ingen-
I26

Lan
dscape of screa ms
At night whe n dy ing proceeds to sever all seams
t he land scape of screams
te ars open the black band age,
Above Moria, the falling off cliff s to God,
the re hovers the flag of the sacrifici al kn ife
Abraham 's scream for the son of his he art,
at the gr eat ear of the Bible it lies prese rved.
0 hie rogl yphs of screams
engraved at the entrance gate to death.
Wounded coral of sha ttered throat flutes.
0, 0 hand s wit h finger vines of fear,
dug into wildly rearing manes of sacr ificial blood -
Screa ms, shut tight with the shredded mandibles of fish,
woe tendril of the smal lest chil dren
an d the gulping train of breath of the very old,
sl ashed into seared azure with burning tails.
Cel ls of prisoners, of saints,
tapestried with the nigh tmare pattern of throats,
see thing hell in the doghouse of madn ess
of shackl ed leaps-
I27

Die
s is die Landschaft aus Schr eien !
Him melfahrt aus Schre ien,
empor aus des Leib es Knochengi ttern,
Pf eile aus Schr ein, erlOste
aus blutigen Kochern.
Hi obs Vier-"\ Vinde-Schrei
und der Schrei verborgen im 61 berg
wie ein von Ohnma cht i.ibermannt es Insekt im Kristal l.
0 Me sser aus Abend rot, in die Kehlen geworfen,
wo die Schlaf baume blutleckend aus der Erde fahren,
wo die Zeit wegf allt
an den Gerippen in Ma idanek und Hiroshima.
As cheschrei aus blin dgequal tem Sehe raug e-
0 du blutendes Auge
in der zerfetzten Sonnenfinst ernis
zum Gott -Trocknen aufgehangt
im "\Ve ltall-

This
is the land scape of screa ms!
As cension made of screams
out of the bodies grate of bones,
arrows of screams, released
fro m bloody quivers.
Job's scream to the four winds
and the scream concealed in Mount Olive
li ke a crystal-bound insec t ov erwhel med by impote nce.
0 knif e of even ing red, flung into the throats
wh ere trees of sleep rear blood-licking from the ground,
where time is shed
fr om the skelet ons in Hiroshima and Maidanek.
Ashen scream from vision ary eye tortu red blind-
0 you bleedin g eye
in the tattered eclipse of the sun
hun g up to be dried by God
in the cosmos -
I29

Mit
Wildh onig
Mit Wild honig
die Hinterblie benen
nahrten in frii hen Grab ern
einbalsami erten Schlaf
und ausge wanderte Pulse
gossen Dattel wein
in die Bienenwabe
der Gehe imnisse.
Im schwar zen Krist all der Nacht
die einges chlossene Wespe
der ausgetanzten Zeit
im Star rkra mpf lag-
Aber du,
aber du, wie nahre ich dich?
A ile Meil ensteine aus Staub
ii bersp ringt die Liebe,
wie die gekopfte Sonne
im Schm erz
nur Unterg ang suchend.
1\Iit meinem Unterg ang
n; ihr e ich dich-
1} 0

With
wild hone y
With wild honey
the bereaved
fed embalmed sleep
and depa rted pulses
in earl y gr aves
poured date wine
into the honeycomb
of the mysterie s.
In black crystal of night
the trapped wasp
of an out danced time
lay locked in cramp-
But you ,
but you,
how shall I feed you?
Love spring s over
all miles tones of dust
li ke the beheaded sun
in pain
seeking only descent.
With my descent
I feed you-
IJ I

Wieviel
e Meer e im Sand e verl aufen
Wieviel e Me ere im Sande verlaufen,
wieviel Sand hart gebetet im Stein,
wieviel Zeit im Sanghorn der M uscheln
verwe int,
wieviel Todverl assenheit
in den Perlenaugen der Fische,
wieviele Morgen trompe ten in der Koral le,
wieviel Sternenmu ster im Kristal l,
wie viel Lachkeime in der Kehle der Mowe,
wieviel Heimwe hHiden
auf nachtl ichen Gestirn bahnen gefahren,
wieviel fruchtb ares Erdre ich
fi.ir die Wur zel des \Vor tes:
Du-
hint er allen sti.irzenden Gittern
der Gehe imnisse
Du -
IJ2

How
many oc ean s ha ve vanished in sand
H ow many oceans have vanished in sand ,
how much sand has been prayed hard in the stone,
how much time has been wept away
in the singing horn of the seashells,
how much mortal abandonm ent
in the fishes' pearl eyes,
how many morning trumpets in the coral,
how many star patt erns in crys tal,
how much seed of laug hter in the gull 's throat ,
ho w many threads of longing for home
have been traversed on the nightly course of the
conste llations,
how much fertile earth
for the root of the word :
You-
beh ind all the crash ing screens
of the secrets
You-IJJ

0
Sch wester
0 Schwestelu
wo zeltest du?
Im schwarzen Gefli.igelhof
lockst du die Ki.iken deines Wahnsinns
fi.itt erst sie gro ss.
Wunden in die Luft
kr aht des Hahnes Trom pete-
Wie ein entbl Osster Vogel
bist du aus dem Nest gef allen
Spazi erganger beaugen
das Schamlose .
Mit dem Albdru ckbesen
kehrst du heim attre u
die rauche nden Meteore
vor des Paradi eses Flammenpf orte
hin und zuri.ick . . .
Dy namit der Ungeduld
stosst dich zu tanzen
auf den schi efen Blitzen der Erl euchtung.
Dein Leib klafft Aussicht spunkte
Ve rlor enes Pyramide nmass
holst du herein
I J 4

0
sister
0 sister,
where do you pitch your tent?
In the black chicken-run
you call the brood of your madness
and rear them.
The cock's trumpet
crows wounds into the air-
You have falle n from the nest
li ke a naked bird
passer s-by eye
that brazenness.
True to your native land
you sweep the roaring meteor s
back and forth with a ni gh tmare broom
bef ore the flaming gates of paradise
Dynamite o f impa tience
pushes you out to dance
on the tilted flash es of insp iration .
Your body gapes points of view
you recover the lost
dimensions of the pyramids

Vogel
die auf deinem Augenast sitzen
zwi tsch ern dir die bli.ihende Geometrie
eine r Sternen zeichnung.
In dein er Ha nd
ver pup pten Ratsel moos
wick elt sich die Nacht aus
his du den fii.igelatmenden Morgenfalter haltst
zuckend-
zuckend- mit einem Schrei
trinkst du sein Blut.
IJ 6

Bi
rds
sitting in the branches of your eye
tw itter to you the bloss oming geomet ry
of a map of stars .
Ni ght unfolds
a chrysal is of enigmatic moss
in your hand
un til you hold the wing-brea thing butterfly of mor ning
qu ive ring -
qmvermg -
with a cry
you drink its blood. IJ 7

In
zweide�i ger Be r�Gn g
In zweideu tiger Berufung
der getr etne 'Vurm des Lebens
windet sich an Oberg angen,
st re ckt weiche Fiihler
durch des Schl afes Laubh iitte-
Adem offnen sich im wundenl osen Nichts
der Me erf ahrenden,
s in gend in der Sarabande
der Steme -
Di e Zeit malt ihr Ende
mit einem blitzenden 'Vidder gehom-

In
am biguo us callin g
In ambig uous calling
the tram pled worm of life
writhes on gra dations,
extends soft feelers
through the bower of sleep-
Veins open in the unwounde d no thingness
of seaf arers
singing in the saraband
of stars-
Tim e paints its end
with a flashing ram's hom-
IJ 9

Salz
ig e Zun gen aus Meer
Salzig e Zu ngen aus Meelu
le cken an den Perlen unserelu Krankheit ­
Die Rose am Horizont,
nicht aus Staub,
aber a us N acht,
sinkt in deine Geb urt­
Hi er im Sand
ihre schwarz
mit Zeit umwickelte Chiffre
wachst wie Haalu
noch im Tod-

Sa
lty oc ean tongues
Sal ty ocean tongues
lick at the pearls of our sickn ess­
The rose on the horizo n ,
not of dust
but of nigh t,
sinks into your birth­
He re in the sand
its black cipher
swa thed in time
. grows, hair-like,
even in dea th-

Fli
ght an d Me tamo rph osis

�c
der Fluch t
In der Flucht
welch grosser Empfang
un terw egs-
Eing ehiillt
in der Winde Tuch
Fiis se im Gebet des Sandes
der niemals Amen sagen kann
denn er muss
von der Flosse in den Fliigel
und weiter-
Der kranke Schme tterling
we iss bald wie der vom Meer­
Die ser Stein
mit der Inschrift der Flie ge
hat sich mir in die Hand gegeben-
An Stel l e von Heimat
hal te ich die Verwand lungen der Wel t-
I44

Fl
eein g
Fl eeing,
what a gr eat reception
on the way-
Wr apped
in the wind's shawl
fe et in the prayer of sand
whi ch can never say amen
comp elled
from fin to wing
and furth er-
The sick butterfly
will soon learn again of the sea­
This stone
with the fly's inscription
gave itsel f into my hand-
I hold instead of a homeland
the met amorphoses of the world -
I45

Tiin
zerin
Tanzer �5 u
brau tlich
aus Blindenr aum
empf angs t du
ferner Schopf ungstage
spriessende Sehnsucht-
Mit deines Leibes Musikstr assen
wei dest du die Luf t ab
dort
wo der Erdb all
neuen Eingang sucht
zur Geburt.
Durch Nacht lava
wie Iei se sich losende
Aug enlider
bl inz elt der Scho pfung svulk ane
Erst! ingssc hrei.
Im Gez weig e dei ner Glie der
ba uen die Ahnu ngen
ih re zwi tschernclen Nester.

Dan
cer
Da ncer
li ke a bride
you conceive
from blind space
the sprouti ng long ing
of distant days of creatio n-
With the streets of your body's mu sic
you feed upon the air
the re
wh ere the globe of earth
seeks new access
to birth .
Through
nigh t-lava
like
eyel ids opening gently
the first cry of the creative volcano
bl inks.
In the branches of your limbs
the premon itions
build their twittering nests.

Wie
eine Melke rin
in der Dammening
ziehen deine Fingerspit zen
an den verb orgenen Quellen
des Lichtes
bis du dur chstochen von der
Marter des Abends
dem Mond deine Augen
zur N ach twache auslief ers t.
Tanzerin
kreissende 'Vochnerin
du allein
tragst an verbor gener Nabelschnur
an deinem Leib
den Gott vererbten Zwillingsschmuck
von Tod und Geburt.

Li
ke a mil kma id
at dusk
your fingertips p ull
at the hidden sources
of ligh t
until you, pierced by the
tor men t of ev ening ,
sur render your eyes
to the moon for her vig il.
Da ncer
woman in childbi rth
you alone
carry on the hidden navel-string
of your body
the ident ical god-given jewels
of death and birth.

Sieh
doch
Sieh doch
sieh doch
der Mensch bricht aus
mi tten auf dem Marktplatz
ho rst du seine Pulse schlagen
und die grosse Stadt
gegiirtet urn seinen Leib
auf Gummi radern-
denn das Schicksal
hat das Rad der Zeit
verm ummt-
hebt sich
an seinen Atemziig en.
Glas erne Auslagen
zerbroc hene Rabenaug en
verfu nkeln
schwar z ftag gen die Schor nsteine
das Gra b der Luft.
Aber der Mensch
hat A h gesagt
und steig t
eine grade Kerze
in die Nacht.
150

But
look
But look
but look
man breaks out
in the mid dle of the mar ketplace
can you hear his pulses beating
and the gre at cit y
on rubbe r tires
girded about his body­
for fate
has muffied
the wheel of time­
li fts itsel f
on the rhythm of his brea thing.
Glassy displ ays
broken raven-eyes
sparkl e
the chimne ys fly black flags
at the grave of air.
But man
has said Ah
and climbs
a str aight candle
int o the night.
IJI

Einer
Ei ner
w ird den Ball
aus der Hand der furch tbalu
Spielen den nehmen.
Sterne haben ihr eigenes Feu erge setz
un d ihre Fruch tbarkeit
ist das Licht
und Schnitter und Erntel eute
sind nicht von hier.
'Ve it dra ussen
sind ihre Spe icher gel agert
auch Stroh
hat eine n Aug enbl ick Leuch tkraft
bem alt Einsam keit.
Eine r wir d kommen
und ihnen das Gri.in der Fruhli ngsknospe
an den Gebet mantel nahen
und als Zeichen gesetzt
an die Stirn des J ahrhu nderts
die Seidenlocke d�s Kindes.
I 52

So
meone
Someone
will take the ball
fro m the hands that play
the game of terr or.
St ars
have their own law of fire
and their fert ility
is the light
and reapers and harvester s
are not native here.
Far off
stand their granaries
st raw too
has a moment ary power of illumination
painting lonel iness.
Someone will come
and sew the green of the spring bud
on thei r prayer shawl
and set the child's silken curl
as a stgn
on the brow of the century.
I5J

Hie
r ist
Amen zu sagen
di ese Kronung der Worte die
ins Verbo rge ne zieht
und
Frieden
du grosses Auge nlid
das al le U nruhe verschlie sst
mit deinem himmlischen Wimpe rnkranz
Du leiseste aller Geb urten.
I J .J

He
re Amen
must be said
this crown ing of words
which moves into hiding
and
peace
you great eyel id
closing on all unres t
your heavenly wreath of lashes
Yo u most gentle of all births.
I 55

Un
d iib erall
Und iiberall
der Mens ch in der Sonne
den schwarzen Aderlass Schuld
werf end in den Sand-
und nur im Schl af
dem tdinenl osen Versteck
mit dem lodernden Pfeil des Heim wehs
fahrend aus dem Kocher der Haut -
Abe r hier
immer nur Buchs taben
d ie ritzen das Auge
sind aber lange schon
unniit ze Weisheit szahne geworden
Reste eines entschlu mmerten Zeitalters.

And
everywh ere
An d everywhere
mankind in the sun
flinging black bloodletting , gu ilt,
int o the sand-
and only in sleep
the tearl ess hiding place
with the blazing arrow of homesickness
fl ying out of the quiv er of skin-
But here
n othing but letters
that scratch the eye
but became useless wis dom teeth
long ago
re mains of an age passed away.
I 5 7

Je
tzt abe r
der W ett erche ru b
knotet
das Vier-Winde-T uch
nicht urn Erdbeeren zu sammeln
in den Waldern der Sprac he
sondern die Trompete veranderlich anzu blasen
im Dun kel
denn nicht kann Sicherheit sein
im ftiegenden Staub
und nur das Kopftuch aus Win d
ei ne bewegl iche Krone
zeigt noch ziing elnd
mit Unru hgestirnen geschmiickt
den Lauf der Wel t an-

But
now
the weather cherub
is tying
the four winds' scarf
not to pick strawberries
in the forest of tongues
but to blow the trumpet change ably
in the dark
for cert aint y can be none
in the flying dust
and only the scarf of wind
a mov able crown
adorned with rest less star s
st ill darts in and out
and points to the course of the world-
15 9

Wie
viele
Wie viele
ertru nkene Zeiten
im raus che nden Schlepptau des Kindersc hlafes
steigen ein auf hoher See
in die duftende Kaji.ite
spielend auf mondenen Gebeinen der Toten
wenn die Jungfrau mit der nach tgespren kelten
Sonnen limone
hi nein blendet
aus Schiffsun tergang.
Hil flos
auf und zu
schl agen der Aug enbl icke Schmetterl ingst i.iren
unv ersch liessbar
fi.ir die goldenen Lanzen
die mord brennen den
in das blut ende Schla cht feld der Kinderang st.
Was fi.ir U mwege sind zu gehen
fi.ir Herzschritte
bev or endlic h
das Erinne rungsboot
das tagfahrende
erre icht ist-
r6o

How
many
Ho w many
dr own ed ages
in the roaring towline of ch ildhood sleep
en ter the fragr ant cabin
on the high sea
playing over the moo n-col ored bones of the dead
when the virgin with the nig ht-flecked
sun citrus
sends blinding rays
out of ship wreck.
He lplessly
open and shut
beat the momen t's bu tterfly doors
al ways pervious
to the golden lances
that sear murdero usly
int o the bleeding battleground of childhood fear.
What detours
must heart steps take
bef ore the memory boat
that travel s by day
finally has been reache d-

Wie
viele tr aumums plilte Grenze n der Erde
sind auszu ziehen
his M usik kommt
von einem fremden Gestirn-
Wie viele to dkr anke Eroberungen
mii ssen sie machen
ehe sie heim kehren
Mo ndmilch im Mu nde
in die schreiende Luft
ih rer hellbewimpel ten Kinders pielpHitze-

H
ow many dream-washed limit s of ear th
must be drawn out
till music comes
from an alien star-
How many mortally sick conqu ests
mu st they make
be fore comin g home
moon -milk in their mouths
into the scre aming air
of thei r brightly pennone d chi ldho od playground-

Ko
mmt einer
Kommt einer
von ferne
mit einer Sprache
die viel leicht die Laute
verse hi iesst
mit dem Wiehe rn der Stute
oder dem Pi epen
ju ng er Schwar zamseln
oder
auch wie eine knirschende Sage
die aile Nahe zers chneidet -
Kommt einer
von ferne
mit Bewegung en des Hundes
oder viel leicht der Ratte
und es ist Win ter
so kleide ihn warm
kann auch sein
er hat Feuer unter den Sohlen
( viel leicht ritter
auf einem Meteor )
so schil t ihn nicht
fa lls dein Teppich durchlO chert schre it-

So
meone comes
Someone comes
from afar
with a lang uage
that perhaps immures
it s vo wels
in the neighing of a mare
or
the p iping
of young blackbir ds
or screeche s li ke a saw
whic h rives all nearn ess-
Someone comes
fr om afar
w ho moves like a dog
or perhaps a rat
and it is winter
so clothe him warm ly,
or he may have
fire beneath his feet
(pe rhaps he rode
on a me teor)
so do not scold him
if your carpet screams with hol es-

Ein
Fremder hat immer
seine Heimat im Arm
wie eine Waise
fiir die er viell eicht nichts
als ein Grab sucht.
I6 6

A
stranger always has
his homeland in his arms
lik e an orphan
for which he may be seeking
nothing but a gr ave.

We
iter
Weit er
we iter
durch das Rau chbild
abgebr annter Liebesme ilen
hin zum Meer
das groll end beisst
seinen Horizon tenring in Stu cke-
We iter
we i ter
hin zum Schwa rzgespann
mit dem Sonnenkopf im Wag en
das auf weis se Mau ern steigt
durch den Stacheldraht der Zeit
in das Auge des Gefangenen sinkt
blu tbet rauft-
bis der endlich
wei ter
we iter
mit dem Schlaf verbriidert
in die gr osse Freiheit lauf t-
Schon hat ihn der Traum gefangen
in dem sternges chlosse nen Zirkel . .
z6 8

Fur
ther
Furt her
furthe r
through the smoking image
of burn t-down miles of love
on to the sea
that grow ls and bites
the ring of its horizon into pie ces-
Further
further on to the team of bla ck horses,
wit h the head of the sun in the wagon,
which climbs white walls
through the barbed wire of time
sinkin g sp rinkled with blood
int o the prisoner's eye-
until he finally
further fu rther
a brother of sleep
runs out into the great freedom-
Already the dream has caught him
in the star-locked circle . . .
r6g

Lini
e wi e
Linie wie
le bendig es Ha ar
gezogen
todnach tgedunkel t
von dir
zu m1r.
Gegang elt
Uusserhal b
bin ich hinii bergeneigt
dur stend
das Ende der Fernen zu kiissen.
De r Abend
wi rft das Sprung brett
der Nacht tiber das Rot
verl angert deine Landzung e
und ich setze meinen Fuss zagend
auf die zitternde Saite
des schon begonnenen T odes
Aber so ist die Liebe-
IjO

Li
ne like
Line like
li ving hair
drawn de a thn ighto bscured
from you
to me.
Reined in
ou tside
I bend
thirstily to kiss the end of all distances.
Evening
throws the spring board
of night over the redness
le ngthens your promon tory
and hesit ant I place my foot
on the trembling string
of my death alread y begun.
But such is love-
I7I

Der
Schlafwan dler
Der Schlaf wandler
kreisend auf seinem Stern
an der weissen Feder des Morgens
erw acht -
der Blut fleck dar auf erinne rte ihn­
lasst den Mond
ers chrocken fallen-
die Schneeb eere zerbricht
am schwarzen Achat der Nacht ­
traum besudelt -
Kein reines Weiss auf Erden-
I ,.. ,.,
; -

Th
e sl ee pwalker
The sleep walkelu
cir cling upon his stalu
is awakened by
the white feather of morn ing-
the bloo dstain on it reminds him­
startled, he drops
the moon-
the snowb erry breaks
ag ainst the black agate of night
sull ied with dream-
No spotless white on this earth -IJJ

We
isse Schlange
Weisse Schlange
Pol arkreis
Fl iigel im Gran it
rosa Wehmut im Eisblock
Sperrzonen urn das Geheimnis
He rzkl opfen meilen aus Entf ernung
"\Vind ketten hangend am Heimweh
fl.ammende Granate aus Zorn-
Und die Schne cke
mit dem tickenden Gepack der Gott zeit.
1 74

Wh
ite ser pent
Whit e serpent
polar circle
wing s in the granite
rose-col ored sadness in blo cks of ice
fron tier zones around the secret
he artthr ob bing miles of distance
wind- chains hanging from homesi ckness
flaming grenade of ang er-
And the snail
with the ticking luggage of God 's time .
I75

Wie
viele He imatl ander
Wie viele HeimatUinder
spielen Karten in den Liiften
wenn der Fliichtl ing durchs Geheimnis geht
wie vie I schl afende M usik
im Geholz der Zweig e
wo der Wind einsam
den Geburt enhelfer spielt.
Blit zgeoff net
sat
Bu chstaben-Sp ring wur zelwald
in versc hlingende Empfangnis
Gottes erstes Wort.
Sch icksal zuckt
in den blutbef ahrenen Meridianen einer Hand-
Alles endlo s ist
und an Strahle n
einer Ferne auf geha ngt-

How
many homel ands
How many homel ands
play cards in the air
when the refugee goes throu gh the mystery
how much sleeping music
in the tang led branches
where wind lones omely
play s mid wife.
Cl eft by ligh tning
al phabe t-leapr ootfo rest
sows God 's first word
int o devouring reception.
Fate flinches
in the blood-tra versed meridians of a hand -
Endl ess is everyt hing
and suspended
on rays of dis tance-
I77

Sch
on
Schon
mit der Mahne des Haares
Fernen entzi.indend
schon
mit den ausgesetzten
den Fing erspi tzen
den Zehen
im Offenen pirschenden
das \Veit e such end-
De r Oz eane Salzruf
an der Uferl inie des Leibes
Gr aber
vers tossen in V erges senheit
wenn auch Heilkraut fi.ir Atemwunden-
An unse�0L Haut grenzen
ta stend die Toten
im Schauer der Geb urten
Auf erstehung feiernd
W ortlos gerufen
sc hiff t sich Gottl iches ein-

Al
read y
Alre ady
ign iting the dist ances
·wi th the mane of hair
already
seeking open spaces
with the extrem ities
the fing ertips
and toes
that stal k in the out side -
The ocean's salt cal l
at the body' s sho reline
Gra ves
cas t out into oblivion
th oug h heal ing herb fo r breath wounds-
At the limit s of our skin
gr op e the dead
in the dread of birth s
cel ebra ting res urrec tion
W ordl essl y cal led
the supernal boards the ship -
I79

Hinter
den Lippen
Hint er den Lippen
U ns agbares wartet
rei sst an den N abelst rangen
der Worte
Ma rtyrers terben der Buchst aben
in der Urne des Mundes
ge ist ige Himmel fahrt
aus schnei dendem Schmerz-
Aber der Atem der inne ren Rede
du rch die Klagem auer der Luft
hauch t ge heimn isentbundene Beichte
sinkt ins Asyl
der \Veltenwunde
noch im Un tergang
Gott abgelauscht-
z8o

Beh
ind the lips
B ehind the lips
waits the ineff able
tears at the word s'
um bilical cords
Mar tyrdom of the lette rs
in the urn of the mouth
spiri tual ascen sion
of incisi ve pain -
But the breat h of the inner spee ch
throug h the wailing- wall air
brea thes confession delivered of all its secrets
sinks into the asylum
of the world wound
it had gleaned from God
even in its ruin-

Ab
gewan dt
Abgew andt
warte ich auf dich
weit fort von den Lebenden weilst du
oder nahe.
Abgewand t
wane ich auf dich
denn nicht diirfen Freigelassene
mit Schling en der Sehnsuc ht
eing efangen werden
noch gekront
mit der Krone a us Planetenstaub-
die Liebe ist eine Sandpftanze
di e im Feuer client
und nicht verzehrt wird-
Ab gewand t
wartet sie auf dich-

Es
trange d
Est ranged
I wait for you
you linger far from the living
or near.
Es tranged
I wait for you
for the libe rated
ma y not be captured
with nooses of longing
nor crowne d
with the crown of planet ary dust-
lo ve is a flower that grows in sand
which serves in fire
and is not devoured-
Est ranged
she waits for you-

ErW
ste
Erl iistc
a11 s Sch laf
W< 'rd<'n die g-rosscn D11nkcl hcitcn
dcr Steinkohlcnw iildcr
a 11 ll'a hI T II
a I nv crf cn
das glitz crndc l.anh
dn I .icht crjahrc
11 1RI �Trc S<'c lc a11f dcckcn-
Bet cr
nac k<'nd
a11s Blitz cn
111RI (;<'sa ng- a us Feuer
k 10I icnd
Sl OSS('I I< I
111 i 1 ( ;< 'W<'i h<'ll d< ' s A usscr-s idt-Scins
wi< 'dcr an d<'ll Klipp< 'll des Anfangs
hci dn Wog<' llllliil lcr
W< 'IL <'im ollendc r M11 sik.
rs .,

Redeemed
Redeemed
from sleep
the great darknesses
of the coal forests
will le ap up
shedding
the glitt ering leaves
of ligh t-years
and reveal their souls-
Na ked
worship pelu
of lightning
and song of fire
kneeling
thr usting again
with antlers of being -beside- oneself
at the cliff s of begin ning
with the wave-mo ther's
world-encir cling music.

Jo
urne y into a Du stless Real m

We
r
Wer von der Erde kommt
Mond zu beriihren
oder
anderes Himmel smineral das bliiht ­
angeschossen
von Erinnerung
wird er hoch springen
vom explodierenden Sehnsucht sstoff
denn aus bemal ter Erdennacht
auf gefliigelt sind seine Gebete
aus taglichen Vemichtun gen
such end die inneren Augenstr assen.
Krater und Trockenmeere
erfii ll t von Tranen
durch sternige Statio nen reisend
auf der Fahrt ins Staublose.
z88

Wh
oever
Whoe ver
le aves the earth
to touch the moon
or
other heavenly miner als that bloom­
wounded
by remembrance
will he leap up
with the expl oding stuff o f yearn ing,
for
from painted terr estrial night
his prayers have winged up
out of the daily annihila tions
to search for the inwar d streets of the eyes.
Cra ters and parche d seas
drenched with tears
jour neying through star ry stations
on their way to a dustl ess realm.

Ob
eral l die Erde
bau t an ihren He imwehkol onien.
Ni cht zu landen
auf den Ozeanen des siicht igen Blutes
nur zu wiegen sich
in Licht musik aus Ebbe und Flut
nur zu wiegen sich
im Rhythm us des unver wundeten
Ewigkei tszeichen :
Leben- Tod-

Ev
eryw here the earth
is bui lding its homesickness colonies.
No t to land
on the oceans of lustful blood
only to sway
in the light-musi c of ebb and flood
only to sway
in the rhythm of the unwounded
sign of etern ity:
Life-D eath-

Du
Du
in der Nacht
mit dem Verlernen der Wel t Beschaftig te
von weit weit her
dein Fing er die Eisgrotte bemal te
mit der sing enden Landka rte eines verborge nen Meeres
das sammel te in der Mu schel deines Ohres die Noten
Bri lcken -Bausteine
von Hier nach Dort
diese haargen aue Auf gabe
deren Losung
den Sterbenden mitgegeben wird.

Yo
u
You in the night
busy unlearn ing the world
f rom far far away
your finger pain ted the ice gro tto
with the singing map of a hidden sea
wh ich assemb led its not es in the shell of your ear
bri dge-b uilding stones
fro m He re to The re
this precise task
whose completion
is left to the dying.
I9 3

Mund
Mund
saugend am Tod
und sternige Strahl en
mit den Geheimn issen des Blutes
fa hren a us der Ader
daran Welt zur Tranke ging
und bliihte
St erben
bezieht seinen Standpunkt aus Schwe igen
und das blicklose Auge
der aussichtsl osen Staubverlassen heit
tri tt iiber die Schwel le des Sehens
wahr end das Drama der Zeit
eing esegn et wir d
dicht hinter seinem eisigen Schweiss tuch.
I 9 4

Mouth
Mouth
suckling on death
and starry rays
with the blood 's secrets
leap out of the vein
on which the world stilled its thirst
and flowered
Dy ing
occupies its standpoint of silence
and the unseeing eye
of the prospec tless dust-fors akenn ess
tra nsgresses the thre shold of seeing
while the drama of time
is conse crated
close behind its icy veronica.
I9 5

Ver
geb ens
Verg ebens
verbr ennen die Brief e
in der Nacht der Nachte
auf dem Schei terhaufen der Flucht
denn die Liebe windet sich aus ihrem Dornenst rauch
ges taupt im Martyrium
und beginnt schon mit Flamm enzungen
ih ren unsich tbaren Himmel zu ki.is sen
wenn Nachtw ache Finsternisse an die Wand wirft
und die Luft
zi tternd vor Ahnung en
mit der Schl inge des anwehe nden Verfolgers
bet et:
Warte his die Buchst aben heimgekehrt sind
aus der lodernden Wi.iste
und gegessen von heiligen Mi.indern
\Varte his die Geistergeolo gie der Liebe
auf gerissen
und ihre Zei talter durchgl iiht
und leuchtend von seligen Fingerzeig en
wi eder ihr Sch<'pfung swort fand:
da auf dem Papier
das sterbend singt :

Va
inl y
Vainly the epistles bu­& u
in the night of nights
on the pyre of flight
fo lulo ve winds itself out of its tho­n bush
flogged in ma ­Doc u
and with its tongue of flames
is begi nning to kiss the invisible sky
when vigil casts da­In esses on the wall
and the air
tremb ling with premo nition
p­"\V$vu with the noose of the hunte r
bl owing in wit h the wind:
Wa it
till the le tters have come home
from the blazing desert
and been eaten by sacred mouths
Wa it
till the ghostl y geol ogy of love
is torn open
and its millennia
agl ow and shining with bl essed pointing of fingers
have rediscovered love 's word of creation :
there on the paper
that dying sings :

Es
war
am Anfang
Eswar
Geliebter
Eswar-

It
was
at the beginning
It was
My beloved
It was-
I99

Der
Schwan
Ni chts
ii her den Wassern
und schon hangt am Augensch lag
schwanen hafte Geometrie
wasser bewurzel t
auf rankend
und wieder geneigt
Staubs chlucke nd
und mit der Luft massnehmend
am "\Veltall-
200

Th
e swan
No thing
above the waters
and at once on the flick of an eye
is suspended
sw anlike geometry
rooted in water
vmmg up
and bowed again
Swallowing dust
and measuring the universe
wit h air -
20I

In
diesem Amethyst
In diesem Ameth yst
sin d die Zeit alter der Nacht gelagert
und eine friihe Lichtintell igenz
zii ndete die Schwer mut an
die war noch fliissig
und weinte
Im mer noch glanzt dein Sterben
hartes Veilch en
202

The
ages of night
The ages of night
are embe dded in this amethyst
and an earl ier intell igence of light
ig nit es the melancholy
which then still flowed
and wept
Your dying still shines
hard violet
203

De
ath Still Celebr at es Life

Der
verstein erte Engel
De r ver steine rte Engel
noch von Erinne rung traufend
von einem friihe ren Wel tall
ohne Zeit
in der Frauensta tion wandernd
im Bernst einlicht
ei ngesc hlossen mit dem Besuch einer Stimme
vorwel tlich ohne Apfel hiss
singend im Mo rgenrot
vor Wahrheit-
Und die anderen kammen die Haare vor Ungliick
und weinen
wenn die Raben draussen
ihr e Schwa rze entf al ten zur Mitterna cht.
2 06

Th
e petr ified angel
The petrified angel
still dripping memories
of an earl ier cosmos
without time
wandering around the women ''s ward
in the amber light
locked in with the visit of a voice
prewo rldly , Eden-l ike
singing in the morning red
with truth-
And the others comb thei r hair with misfortune
and weep
when the ravens outside
unf old their black wing s at mi dnight.
207

Wu
nder der Begeg n�n gen
Wunde r der Begeg nungen
zwe ier Geist er in der Unterhal tung
iib er die Leiber hinweg
die traue rn wie Waisen
bis in die Zehenspi tzen hinein
vor Verl assenheit.
Wasc hen und Kleiden
sind Gebet anfange des grossen Sterberituals
im zugig en Du rchgang der Ahnun gen
die Nacht mit dem Fallobst der Traume
und dem Speicher des Vergessens noch blitzen lasst
a us dem gelobten Lande der aussersten Vision.
Abe r wenn auch Heim weh auszog
u nd der Leib auf dem Laken liegt
-zusammeng erollte Fahne der die Fr eiheit entstieg­
so ist noch nicht der Grad der Fins tern is
erre icht wo die Dimension der Aufers tehung en beg innt
und die M usik der Sterne abgebr ochen wird
von einem Schweigen
das sich im Leben einmal Tod genann t.
2 08

Marve
l of enc ount ers
Marv el of encoun ters
of two minds in conversation
far beyond their bodie s
that mourn like orphans
down to the tips of their toes
wit h abandon ment.
'\V ashing and dressing
are prayer beginni ngs of the grea t death ritual
in the windy passage of premon itions
that night with its wind fall of dreams
and stor eroom of obl ivion still lets flash
fro m the prom ised land of the ultim ate vision.
B ut even if longing for home has left
and the body lies on the sheet
-f urled flag from which freedom moved ou t­
even then that degree of da rkness
has not been reached where the dimension of resur rections
begins
and the music of the st ars is discontinued
by a sil ence
that in life once called itself death .

Hinter
der Tiir
Hi nter der Tiir
eine Oper wird in die Luft gemimt
die dunkel Besessenen
le gen den Aquat or des Leidens-ihre ftammende Nacht ­
um den Leib
wahrend der Liebest rank des Schlaf es
auf der Zunge zergeht
und die Arien der Vergang enheit
wie schw arz versicke rndes Blut
im Atemzug verrocheln-
0 Vict oria-schmett ernd wie Hahn ekrahen­
hint er einer Stirn ist
eine Messer spitze Mo rgenl icht
in Verz iickung geraten-
2IO

Beh
ind the door
Behind the door
an oper a is mime d int o the air
the darkl y possessed
place the equat or of anguis h-their flaming night­
around their bodies
while the love potio n of sleep
dissolves on their tongue
and the arias of the past
expire like black oozing blood
in their breath-
0 hosanna-resou nding like coc kcrows­
behind a brow
a knif e point of mo rning light
has become ecstat ic-
2II

Noch
feiert der Tod
No ch feic�rt dcr Tocl
Ni irrin in je cler Schritt weitcr en tfern t von den kindl ichen Uhren
un dem Riiuh cr Vor Ehrf un:ht crhcbt·n sich Stiihle und Bet ten
dcnn unci Tiiren-
dn Schli.issel auf Abwehr �estel lt
:indert die Richt ung mit Einl ass nach draussen-
Die wc-issc·n Schw cstc ·rn sterngebadct
vom Be riihren von ihm a us seine r unte rinl ischcn Qucl lc des Dur stes

Death still celebrat es
Death still celebrates
the life in you
fool in the spir al of haste
eac h step one farther away from the childh ood clock s
and ever more clos ely seized by �& wind
the thief of long ing-
Chair and bed rise ·with awe
disquiet has become oceanic
and doors-
the key turned to defense
changes direction with entrance to ou tside-
The white sisters , bathed in stars ,
with touching the tokens of strangeness
his who feeds the veins here
hom his sub terra nean source of thirs t
at which the visions have to still themsel ves-
2IJ

Ab
er unter dem Bliitterdach
Aber unter dem Blatt erdach
vol lkommener Vereinsamung
die nur flir sich alleine stirbt
wo jeder fremde Blick vers cheidet
abstrei fend aile Be geg nungen
auch die der Liebe
bist du
mit vier \Vind gesich tern in die Fremde schauend
Konig tiber die Gefilde der Unberiih rbarkeit
eind eutig wie das Geb iss der Toten
das iibrig blieb im Staubze rfall
und nur zum Kauen war gesetzt
in seinem Reich
das unterging -
2I4

But
under the leafy ro of
But under the leafy roof
of compl ete isolation
which dies only its own death
whe re every strange look dies
casting off all encoun ters
and love's too
you are
gazing into strang eness with the wind's four faces
king of intangible domains
unm istak able as the teeth of the dead
which survived when all else turned to dust
and were only meant for chewing
in the real m
that perish ed-
2I5

Un
d di e bl ind gewor denen Leiber
Und die bl indg ewordenen Leiber
der Ausgestossenen werden
stuf enw eis
von der Nacht an der Hand genommen
Na cht die ihr eig enes Dunke l iib erspringt
his die
gesc hwiste rlich Gefiihrten
zun ehmend an GeH ihrd ung
in die Katakomben von Ur hinun terfallen
die begr abenen Schatze betastend
di e gl immen im schwarzen Feuer der Leuchter
das wechsel t mit weis sem Wahrsag elicht
und wieder mit Rot dem Amen der Farben-
Aber die Heilun g ges chieht auf
neuem Weg
denn niemal s kann Eingang
dassel be wie Ausgang sein
wo Abs chied und Wiederkunf t
ges chie den sind
du rch die unheil bare \Vunde des Lebens-
Und die Aur a der Morgenf ri.ihe
ist schon Antwort und Geschenk
einer anderen Nacht -
216

An
d ni ght ste p b y step
And nigh t step by step
takes the blind bodies
of the banis hed by the hand
Ni ght that leaps over its own darkness
until led like brother and sister
through increa sing dang er
they fall int o the catacombs of Ur
fing ering the buried treasures
wh ich glimmer in the black fire of the candelabra
that alternates with the white light of proph ecy
and with red, the amen of col or-
But healing occurs
on a new path
for entrance can never be
the same as exit
whe re farew ell and return
are parted by the incur able wound of life-
And the aura of dawn
is answer and gift
of another night-
2I7

Ze
it der Verpuppun g
Zeit der Verpuppung
Zeit der Verg ebung
Verf allene mit dem Gesicht im Staub
ver sp iiren schon den Schul ternschme rz der Fliigel
Wettl auf der Merid iane auf der Sternen haut
Aderl ass der Sehnsucht ins Meer der Verkl arung
He rzklopf en der Gestirne
an die Tiiren der Liebenden
die mit dem Rosenkr anz ihrer M iinder fortbeten
ih re Leib er in die unsich tbaren Landung en
der Seligke iten-
2I8

T
ime of pu pat ion
Time of pupatio n
time of rem ission
ruined ones with their face in the dust
already sense the shoul der ache of wings
meridians race on the stars' integ ument
bloodletting of longing into the ocean of transfig uratio n
he artbeat of const ellations
at the doors of lovers
who with their rosary mouths continue to pray
their bodies away into the invisible landings
of the beatitud es-
2I9

Die
beide n A lten
Die heiden Al�(C
Han d in I lan d si�dB
Z w iII ing- sgcst irn
lcuchl end noch aus der verb ra n n ten Musik
ihr cr Vcr gan genheit
da sic s�O'B als sic lieb�+C-
ve rhcxl von der Magie cine s schwar zen Prinz en
di eser ausgeschni �enen Silhoue �e der Nacht
auf der Ne�zhau� �rau ernd wie Schl aflosig keit
wii hrend ihre Zukunf t in Na geln und Haaren
den Tod iiber w�ichst -
22 0

T
he ol d cou ple
The old couple
sitting hand in hand
twin constel lation
still glowing with the burnt music
of their past
when they died as they loved­
bewitched by the magic of a black prince
this excis ed silhouette of night
li ke insomnia mourning on the retina
while their future in cuticles and hair
ou tgrows their death-
22I

We
r ruft?
Wer ruft?
Die eige ne Stim mel
Wer antwortet?
Tod !
Geht die Freundschaft unter
im Heerlager des Schl afes?
J a!
Warum kraht kein Hahn?
Er warte t bis der Rosma rinkuss
auf dem Wasser schwimmtl
Was ist das?
Der Auge nblick Verlassen heit
aus dem die Zeit fortfi el
ge totet von Ewig keit!
\Vas ist das?
Schlaf und Sterben sind eigensch aftslos
222

Who
calls?
Who calls?
My own voice !
\V ho answers?
De ath !
Does friendship end
in the armed camp of sleep?
Yes !
·w hy does no cock crow?
It waits for the kiss of rosemary
to touch the water !
What is that?
The moment of lone liness
from which time fell
kil led by eter nity!
What is that?
Sleep and dying are neu tral

Di
e Urk unde vor mir au fg esch lagen
Die Urkunde vor mir aufgeschlag en
in den Stufen der Marmortreppe
die Buchs taben entworfen
in den Kiemen der zeitalternden Wasserwunder
Atem derwar
ver steine rt
und nun wie auf Blitzen mit Fiissen
ni ed erge treten
von uns Bela denen
die wir unwissend verschulden
vieler Minut en Tod-
Und dann
in der Bibel auf gebro chen
weis sagend vom wandernden Geheimnis d�r Seele
und immer zeigend wie mit Fing ern aus Graber n
in die nachste Morgendammerun g-
22 4

The
archive unfolded befo re me
The arch ive unf olded before me
in the steps of the mar ble stairs
the alphabet outlined
in the gills of age -old water marvels
Breath that was
petrified
and now as on ligh tning with feet
tr ampl ed down by us
who are burdened
and unkno wingly cause
many minut es' death-
And then
dis closed in the Bible
pr ophesying the soul's wandering secret
and always pointing as wit h fin gers from graves
into the next dawn-
225

Un
d wun dertatig
Und wund ertatig
ist der Geist der Luft
zi eht auf den Embr yo des Wei tails der
wandert frei in unse rem Adernetz
Und in der Eichel ubernac htig schon
das Scha ttenreich des Baumes sinnt
und auch Gesang
des Windes Eigen tum das er ver zehrt
Langst ist das Flieg en sc hon
dem innern Leib vertraut
er kennt die Sternen strassen
wie den Staub zuhaus
Aus dem verworf enen Eckstein rinnt die Zeit
die sich am Hcr zen misst
Das aber schl agt die Ferne furchtbar nahe r-

An
d mi racu lous
And miracu lous
is the spirit of air
ra ises the embryo of the cosmos that
wanders freely in our mesh of veins
And in the acorn, already fatigued,
tree 's shad ow realm mu ses
and there is also singing
wind' s property which it devour s
Long has flying been
an intimat e of the inner body
whi ch knows the star street s
li ke the dust at home
Out of the cast-off cornerstone trickles the time
that takes its measure at the heart
But that beats the distance dreadf ully neare r-
227

Sch
on will iiusser stes au swan dern
Schon w�2 uausserstes auswande rn
das Herz des Wassers
und des Feu ers damon�+-u verwundertes Licht
d�lu bliihenden Geburten der Erde
und Luft die sing end den Atem verlasst
Sehnsucht �4 uder Herrsc her
der unsich tbare Adler
zer reisst se�i u Bente
tragt sie nach Haus-

Ex
tremi ty is seek ing its sel f-ex ile
Extr emit y is seeking its self -exile
the heart of water
and the demon ic astonished light of fire
the flowering births of earth
and air which in a song escapes the brea th
Longing is the ruler
t he invisible eagl e
tears its prey a part
and bears it home-
229

A
be r die Sonnen blume
Aber die Sonnenblume
entziindend die Wande
hebt vom Boden
die mit der Seel e reden
im Dunkel n
schon Fackeln fiir eine andere Welt
mit Haaren wachsend his tiber den Tod-
Und draussen Finkenschlag
und die Zeit in der Glorie gehend
far big
und die Blume wachsend
dem Menschen ans Herz
Boses reift in die Kelter
sch warze Traube-verrufene­
schon gepresst zum Wein-
2) 0

But
the sun flower
But the sunflower
that ignites the walls
from the floor raises
those speaking with the soul
in the dark
alrea dy torc hes for another world
with hair growing even beyond death-
And outside : finches singing
and time walking in glory
col orfu l
and the flower growing
to man 's heart
Evil ripens into the casks
black grape -inf amous­
alrea dy pressed into wine -
2}I

lch
kenne nich t den Ra�W
Ich kenne nicht den Raum
wo die ausg ewanderte Liebe
ihren Sieg niederlegt
und das Wac hstum in die Wirklichke it
der Visio nen beginnt
noch wo das Uicheln des Kindes bewahrt ist
das wie zum Spiel in die spiel enden Flammen geworfen
wur de
aber ich weis s, class dieses die Nahrung ist
aus der die Erde ihre Ster nmusik herzkl opfend entziindet-
2) 2

I
do not know the room
I do not know the room
where exiled love
lays down its victor y
and the growing into the real ity
of visions begins
nor where the smile of the child
who was thrown as in play
into the playing flames is preserved
but I know that this is the food
from which earth with beating heart
ign ites the music of her stars-
2} 3

Di
e gekr iimmt e Linie des Leidens
Die gekr i.immte L�ignudes Leidens
nach tastend die gottl ich ent zi.indete Geometr�gnu
des Wel talls
immer auf der Leucht spur zu dir
un d ver dunkel t w�e der �Huder Fallsucht
die ser Ungeduld ans Ende zu kommen-
U nd h�e r �Hu den vier Wan den nicht s
als die mal ende Hand der Zeit
der Ewig keit Embr yo
mit dem Urlicht i.iber dem Haupt e
und das Herz der gefes selte Fli.ichtl�i u
sprin gend a us seiner Berufung: Wunde zu se�up
2 J 4

T
he co ntor ted line of sufferin g
The contorted line of sufferi ng
re tra cing the super nally ignited geometry
of the cosmos
al ways on the gleaming tracer path to you
and obscure d ag ain in the epil epsy
of this impatience to reach the end-
And in these four walls here nothing
but the pain ting hand of time
et ern ity's embr yo
wit h primordial light on the brow
and the heart the shackled fugitive
le aping out of its cal ling: to be a wou nd-
2} 5

Na
cht der Niich te
Die Nacht war ein Sarg aus schwarzem Feuer
Die roten Amenf arben der Gebete
best atteten sich darin
In diesem Purpur wurzelten Zahne -Haare-und der Leib
ein geschii ttelter Baum im Geis terwind
Hellg esicht ig-dieser Eint ags-C herub
ziindete sich an
Die Flammen im Adernetz
li efen aile ihrer Deut ung zu
In der Aufers tehungsasche spielte Musik

Nigh
t of nigh ts
The nigh t was a coffin of bla ck fire
the red amen- colors of prayers
in terred themselves inside it
In this purpl e were rooted teeth-hair-and the body
a shaken tree in the ghostly wind
Lightfaced-th is on e-day cherub
igni ted itself
The flames in the mesh of veins
all rushed toward their sign ificance
Music played in the resurrec tion ashes 2J7

Di
ese Kette von Ratseln
Di ese Kette von Ratseln
urn den Hals der N ac ht gelegt
Kon�g swort we�gufort ges chr�fl#flHu
unl esbar
vielle�- u �HuKometenfahrt
wenn d�luaufger�uu­ignu Wunde des Himmel s
schm erzt
da in dem Bettler der Raum hat
und auf Knieen gehe nd
aus gemessen hat alle Landst ­assen
mit se�i­ u Le�# u
denn es mu ss aus gelitten werden
das Lesbar e
und Sterben gelernt
� u Geduld igsein-

Th
is chai n of en igma s
This chain of en igmas
hung on the neck of night
a king's word written far away
ille gible
pe rhaps in comet journeys
when the torn-open wound of the sky
hurt s
ther e
within the beggar who has room
and crawl ing upon his knees
has measur ed out the roads
wit h his body
for the legible
must be suffered to its end
and dying learned
in patience -
2] 9

So
stei gt der Berg
So steigt der Berg
in mein Fenster hinein.
U nmens chlich ist die Liebe,
ver setzt mein Herz
in den Glanz deines Staubes.
Sch wermu t-Granit wird mein Blut.
Un mens chl ich ist die Liebe .
Nacht und Tod bauen ihr Land
ein warts und auswarts-
nicht fii r die Sonne.
Stern ist ein versi egeltes Abe ndwort­
dur chrissen
von der unmenschl ichen Auffahrt
der Liebe.

Thu
s the moun tain clim bs
Thus the mountain climbs
into my window.
Love is inhuman,
transports my heart
int o the splendor of your dust.
My blood becomes a melancholy granite.
Love is inhuman.
Ni ght and death build their land
inw ards and outwards-
not for the sun.
Star is a sealed evening word­
r ipped
by the inhuman upsur ge
of love.

Gl
ow ing En ig mas I, II €.5 III
Translate d by Mi cha elllam burg er

I
Di ese Nacht
g� u �-ue�gnu dunkle Neben strasse
urn d�gnu Ecke
Da legte s�-u me� u Schatten
in me�­ u Arm
Di eses ermiidete Kle�Cg sstiick
wo llte getragen werden
und d�gnu Far be N �-evu sprach mich an:
Du b ist jense its!
Auf und ab gehe ich
� ­iu Stubenw arme
Die Irren im Korr�Uociu kre�u/­& u
mit den schwarzen Vogeln draussen
urn die Zuk unft
U ns ere Wunden sprengen daq u bose Zeit
aber die Uhren gehen Iangsam-

This
night
I turned the corner into
a dark side stre et
Then my shadow
lay down in my arm
This tired piece of clothi ng
wanted to be carried
and the color Nothi ng addresse d me:
You are beyond!
Up and down I walk
in the room's warmth
The mad people in the corridor screech
tog ethe r with the black birds outside
about the future
Ou r wounds blast this evil time
but slowly the clocks tick-
24 5

Ni
cht stun
merkbar Verwelken
Meine Hande gehoren einem fortgeraubten Fliigelschlag
Ich nahe mit ihnen an einem Loch
aber sie seufzen an diesem offenen Abgrund-
Ich wasche meine Wasche
Viel Sterben im Hemd singt
da und dort Kontrapunkt Tod
Die Verfolger haben ihn mit der Hypnose
eing efadel t
und der Stoff nimmt willig auf im Schlaf -
Lich terhel le kehrt ein in den dunklen Vers
weht mit der Fahne Verstehn
Ich soil im Grauen suchen gehn
Fi nden ist woande rs-
Hi nter der Ttir
ziehst du an dem Sehnsuch tsseil
bis Tr;inen kommen
In diese r Q uel le spieg elst du dich-

Doi
ng nothing
perce ptible wilting
My hands belong to a wingbeat stol en and carr ied off
With them I am sewing around a hole
but they sigh bef ore this open abyss-
I wash my clothes
Much dying sing s in the shift
here and there the co unt erpo int death
The pursu ers have threaded in
tog ethe r wit h the hypnosis
and the material abso rbs it will ingly in sleep-
Effulg ence of ligh ts ente rs into the dark verse
blows with the banner called understanding
I am to go out and se arch horror
Finding is elsewhere-
Behind the door
yo u pull on the rope of longing
till tears come
In this wells pring you 're mirrored-
24 7

Wir
winden hier einen Kranz
Manche haben Donnerveilchen
ich nur einen Grashal m
vol l der schweig enden Sprache
die hier die Luft blitzen Hisst-
Nu r St erben lockt ihnen des Jam mers Wahr heit heraus
di ese Keh rreime aus Nachtschw arze geschni tten
die se Zung eniibun gen
am Ende der Tono rgel-
Di ese Teleg rafie misst mit der Mathematik ala satane
die empfindl ich musizie renden Stellen
an meinem Leib aus
Ein Engel aus den Wiinschen der Liebe erbaut
stirbt und aufersteht in den Buchstaben
in denen ich reise-
Ruf st du nun den einen Namen verzweif elt
aus dem Dunkel-

He
re we wind a wr eath
Some have violets of thun der
I have only a bl ade of grass
full of the silent language
that makes this air flash-
Only death draws out of them the truth of mis ery
these recurring rhymes cut out of nig ht's blackness
th ese tongue exercises
at the end of the organ of soun ds-
This telegraphy measures with the mathematic s a Ia satane
the sensi tively music-m aking places
in my body
An ang el bu�l ds from the des�i­vuof love
dies and rises again in the letters
in which I tr avel-
If now you desper ately call the one name
out of the darkne ss-
24 9

Warte
einen Augen bl ick noch­
und du wand elst auf dem Meer
Das Element durchdringt schon deine Poren
du wir st mit ihm gesenkt und gehob en
und bald im Sand wiedergefunden
und bei den Stemen anftiegende r erw artet er Cast
und im Feuer des W iedersehens verzehrt
Au sgeweidet die Zeit
auf deines Angesichtes Bernstein
Das N ach tgew itter zieht ftammend heran
aber der Reg enbogen
span nt schon seine Farben ein still-
still-
in den hinterg riindig en Streifen aus Trost-
Die Fortl ebenden haben die Zeit angefasst
bis ihnen Goldstaub in den Handen blieb
Sie sing en Sonne -Sonne-
Mi tter nacht das schwarze Auge
ist mit dem Totenl aken zugedeckt -
2JO

Wait
a moment longe r­
and you walk upon the sea
Already the element transfuses your pores
you are lowered with it and lifted
and found again soon in the sand
and on the stars an awa ited guest arriving by air
and consumed in the fire of reunion
be stil l-be still-
Time's pasture cropped
on the ambe r of your face
The night thunders torm approac hes flaming
but the rainbow
already is stretching its col ors
on to the convex surface of comf ort-
Those who live on have clut ched at time
until gold dust was left on their hands
The y sing sun-sun-
midn ight the dark eye
has been covere d with the shroud-
2JI

Ein
samk eit lautlo s samtener Acker
aus Stiefmutterve ilchen
verlassen von rot und blau
violett die gehende Farbe
de in W eine n ersc hafft sie
aus dem zarten Erschrecken deiner Augen-
De in N arne ist dir verlorengegangen
aber die Wel t eilt herzu
und bietet dir schone Auswahl an
Du schiittelst den Kopf
aber dein Geliebt er
hat dir einmal die Nadel im Heuhauf en gefunden
Ho rst du: er ruft dich schon-
Die Betten werden fiir die Schmer zen zurech tgemac ht
Das Leinen ist ihre Vertr aute
Sie kampfen mit dem Erzengel
der niema�d seine Unsicht barkeit verlasst
Stein beladener Atem sucht neue \Vege ins Freie
abe r der gekr euzig te Stern
fal lt im mer wieder wie Fallfrucht
auf ihr Schwe isstuch -
252

Sol
itude of silent velvety fields
of viol as
abandone d by red and blue
violet the going colo r
yo ur weeping creates it
from the delicate fear of your eyes-
You have mispl aced your name
but the world comes running
to offer you a good selection
You shake your head
but your lover
once found your needl e for you in a ha ystack
Listen -he's cal ling alre ady-
The beds are being made for pain
The linen is pain's close friend
It wre stles with the arch angel
who never discards his invis ibilit y
Breat h weighed down with stones looks for new ways out
but the crucified star
fal ls ag ain and again like windf alls
on to pain's shawl-
253

Wenn
ich die Stube beschiitzt mit Krankheit
verlassen werde-frei zum Leben-zum Sterben­
Luft mit dem Willkommenkuss
den Zwill ingsmund tie£ begl iickt
so weiss ich ja nicht
was mein Unsich tbares
nun mit mir anfangen wird-
Ih r spre cht mit mir in der Nacht
aber abgekampft wie aile Toten
habt ihr den letzten Buchs taben
und die Musik der Kehlen
der Erde hin terlassen
die Absch ied durch aile Tonlei tern singt
Aber im Flug sand eingebettet
ho re ich N eues in der Gnade-
Fiirst�­Hu der Tra uer
wer fischt eure Traurig keiten auf?
\Vo fi.nde n die Reiset zungen statt?
\V elche Meerenge bew eint euch
mit der Umarmung eines inne ren Vaterl andes?

When
I come to leave the room protected by illn ess
f ree to live-to die-
air with its welcoming kiss
deeply delights the twin mouth
then I shall not know
what my invisible
will do with me now-
You speak with me in the night
but fough t off like all the dead
you have left the last letter
and the music of throats
to earth
that si ngs farew ell up and down all the scale s
But bedded in the blown sand
I hea r new sounds in grace-
Princesses of sadness
who fishes out your sorrows?
"\V here do the fune rals tak e place?
What ocean stra its weep for you
with the embrace of an inner homela nd?
25 5

Die
Nacht eure Schwestelu
ni mmt Abschie d von euch
als letzte Liebende -
Ver zeiht ihr meine Schwestern
ich habe euer Schwe igen in mein Herz genommen
Dort wohnt es und leidet die Perl en eures Leides
kl opft Herzweh
so laut so zerre issend schrill
Es reitet eine Lowin auf den Wogen Oceanas
eine Lowin der Schme rzen
die ihre Tranen !angst dem Meer gab-
Schnell ist der Tod aus dem Blick gesc hafft
Die Element e machen Aufruhr
doch die knospenden Spharen
dran gen schon mit Auferstehung ein
und das Wortl ose heil t den erkrankt en Stern-
We ine aus die entfesselte Schwere der Angst
Zwei Schme tterlinge hal ten das Gewicht der Wel ten fi.ir dich
und ich lege deine Trane i n die ses \Vo rt:
Deine Angst ist ins Leuclzten geraten-

Ni
ght your sister
takes leave of you
as the last lover-
Forgive me my sisters
I ha ve taken your silence into my heart
Th ere it lives and suffers the pearl s of your suffering
he artac he knocks
so loud so pie rcingly shrill
A lioness rides on the waves of Oceana
a lioness of pains
that long ago gave her tears to the sea-
Quickly death is removed from sight
The element s riot
but the budding spheres
al ready press in with resurrectio n
and that which is wor dles s heals the ailing star-
Weep away the unleashed heaviness of fear
Two butterflies support the weight of the world for you
and I lay your tears into these words :
Your fear has begun to shine-
25 7

Im
Aug en�l ick schliesst ein Stern sein Auge
Die Kriite verl iert ihr en mondenen Stein
Du in deinem Bett schenkst der Nacht deincn Atem
0 Ka rtc des Univ crsums
dcinc Zeichen fiihr cn das Geiider der Fremd heit
uns a us dem Sinn-
En terbte beweinen wir Staub -
Meine Liebe floss in dein Marty rium
dur chhrach den Tod
Wir Ieben in der Auferstehung -
Im verhexten Wald
mit dcr ahgcs chiil tcn Rinde des Dascins
wo Fussspu rcn bluten
gl iihcnde Riitsel iiugen sich an
fa ng en Mit teilung en auf
aus Grahkam mern-
1-1 inter ihnc n
das zwcit c Gc sicht crschcint
Dcr Gchcimh und ist gcsc hlossc n-

In
one moment a star closes its eye
The toad loses �ts moonstone
You in your bed g�Agnuyour breath to night
0 map of the univers e
Your signs show the veins of strangeness
out of our minds-
Di sinhe rited we weep for dust -
My love flowed out into your martyrdom
broke through death
'\Ve live in resurrection-
In the bewi tched wood
with the pealed-off bark of exet ence
whe re footpr ints bleed
glow ing enigmas gaze at each other
in ter cept messages
from grave vaul ts-
Beh ind them
appea rs the second vision
the secret pact has been made-
25 9

Kran
ke sind dabei aus ihrem Blut
ausg ebroche nes W�:Vu wieder e�iK"f angen­
M�4 u �hren Aug en auf Jagd wandernd
do rth�Hu wo der Tag
in todau fgeschreckter Farbe liegt
und d�gnu Tiefe des Mondes
in �hren weitoffenen W�nterschlaf e�idringt
s�gnu hart hochz�fl-e nd
h�vU­iu Faden der Erde re�uu4 u
und s�gnuan dem Schneeapfel hangen
m�4 u schlagenden Gl�edern-
Me�ilu gel�­b ten Tot en
e�Hu Haar aus Dunkel he�4 u
he �uu4 u schon Ferne
wachst Ie�ulu durch offene Ze�4 u
Ich sterbe gehe�)­vu Mass fi.ill end
in d�lu M�i"4lu
d�lu s�+. u knospend reckt
aber hinterri.icks haben s�lud�lu Feu erzung en
der Erde aufgepflan zt-
Eine Rebe die ihren We�Hu der Flam me i.iber g�4 u
s�i-lu �+-uruck warts-

Sick
people are about to recap ture
wild beasts that broke out of their blood­
Goi ng out to hunt with their eyes
to that place where day
li es in colors startl ed by death
and the depth of the moon
ente rs their wide-open hibernation
sharply drawing them upward
until the thread of earth breaks
an d they hang on the snow apple
their limbs beating -
My beloved dead
a hai r made of darkness even
is calle d remoteness
softly grows through open time
I die filling a secret measure
into the minute
that budding stretche s
but behind my back they have plan ted
the tongu es of fire on to the earth-
A vine that yields its jui ce to the flam e
I sink back-

Wahrend
�+-uh�er warte
se hnt sich die Zeit draus sen � uMeer
aber wird immer wieder an ihrem Blauha ar zuriickgezogen
erre icht nicht Ewigkeit-
No ch keine Liebe zwischen den Planet en
aber geheime Obereinkunft zittert schon-
Abendwe �tes Verbl uten
h� u d�lu Dunkelheit das Grab grabt
Embr yo des Traumes im Mu tterl e�* u
kl opft an
Die schopfer�+-lu Luft bez�­-gu s�-uIangsam
mit der Haut der Neug eburt
Der Schmerz schreibt sich ein
mit dem Facher der Gesichte
Leben und Sterben geht weite r-
Im mer w�eder neue Sintftut
mit den herausgefolterten Buchs taben
die an der Angel redenden Fische
im Skelett des Salzes
die "\Vunde lesbar zu mache n-

As I
wait here
time yearns out at sea
but is pulled back aga �& u and again by its blue hair
does not reach eterni ty-
Still no love between the planets
but a secret understand ing alre ady quivers-
A bleeding away wide as the evening
till dark ness digs the grave
embr yo of the dream in the womb
knocks Creative air slowly cover s it self
with the skin of new birth
Pain inscribes itself
with the fan of visions
lif e and death go on-
Ne w Flood again and again
with those letters brought out by torture
those fishes that speak on the hook
in the skel eton of sal t
to make legible the wound -

Immer
wieder Sterben zu lernen
am alten Leben
Flucht durch die Lufttiir
neue Sunde zu holen aus schlafenden Planeten
. � us serste Ubung am alten Element des Atems
mit neuem Tod erschreckt
'Vo ist die Trane hin
wenn die Erde schwand?
Sie reden Schnee-
Das Stunden tuch mit allen vnh r vV eltzi pfeln
tragt sich herein
Krie g und Sternenftug hocken beieinander
suchen Schutz dort wo die N acht
vol l Mu ttermilch iiberquillt
und mit schw arzem Finger winkt
wo die N eu entdecku ngen fiir die Seel enfahrer harren
funkelnd in Fins ternis
tief unter dem Schnee-

To
learn dy�& u again and aga�& u
from the old life
flight throug h the door of a� u
to fetch new sin from sleeping planets
Extreme exercise upon the old eiement of breath�i u
startled by new death
\V hat became of the tear
when earth vanished?
They speak snow-
The cloth of hours with its four cosm�+ u ends
be ars itsel f in
war and flight to the stars crouch next to each othe r
look for asyl um where nigh t
overflows with mothe r's milk
and beckons with a black finger
whe re new discove ries awa it the soul explo rers
sparkl ing in darkness
d eep underneath the snow-

II
Gesichte aus Dammerung
Verl orenes der Toten
auch wir hint erlassen
unser Einsamstes den Neugeburt en-
Ei ner dreht sich urn
und sieht in die Wiiste­
die Hall uzinat ion offnet
die Wand der Sonnenw ildnis
wo ein Ahnenpaar
die Sprac he des enthi illten Staubes spricht
muschel fern unterm Siegel-
Wir frieren
und kampfen mit dem nachst en Sch ritt
in Zuki inftig es-
Immer ist die leere Zeit
hung rig
auf die Inschrif t der Vergangl ichkeit­
In der Fahne der Nacht
mit allen \Vun dern eingerol lt
wis sen wir nicht s
als dass deine Einsamke it
nicht die meine ist-
Viel leicht dass ein Trau m-ver wirklich tes Griin
2 66

II
Visions all dusk
lost things of the dead
we also leave to the newly born
what in us is most lonely-
Someone turns round
and peers int o the desert­
hall ucination opens
the wall of sun wildern ess
wh ere an ances tral coup le
speaks the language of dust unveiled
remote as a conch, and sealed-
we freeze
and grappl e with the next pace
into what's to come-
Al ways empty time
is hu ngry
for the inscription of transi toriness­
Fu rl ed into nigh t's banner
with all the marvels
we know nothing
save that your loneliness
is not mine-
perhaps a dream-a ttained green

oder
ein Sang
aus der Vorg eburt schimme rn kann
und von den Seuf zerbriicken unserer Sprache
horen wir das heimliche Rauschen der Tief e-
St rasse- Wagen- Fiisse
wer weiss noch dass er auf einem Stern wandert
auf einem Flamment opf steht
darin es zi.ing elt siichtig zum Durchstoss
die Geologie der Nacht e beriihrt mit seinem Schritt
Wenn der Schl afverfiihrte
aus dem Brunnen des Morgens
si ch erhebt
sc huldbel aden
weiss er nicht
dass er noch im Nacht kleid der Larve steckt
denn noch hater nicht seine Vorgeburt erlebt
noch seinem Tod sich hingegeben
Alle s ist im W t>rden
zwin kert der Schmett erli ng-

or
a
song
from prebirth can glist en
an d from the bridges of sig hs of our speech
we hear the secret roar of the deeps-
Pavemen t-cars-fe et
who now remem bers that he roams a star
that he stands on a cald ron of flames
with greedy tongues impatient to break through
that his step touches the geol ogy of nig hts
When the man seduced by sleep
nses guilt -laden
from the wellsh aft of mo rning
he does not know
that he is wrapped in the nigh tclothes of the chrysalis
fo r still he has not experienced his prebirth
nor abando ned himself to his death
All's metamorp hosis
flu tters the butterfly-

Ahnungen
wandernde
Ahren
auf schwarzem Feld-
li ege neben mir
au sgewandert-1 uftig ­
le blose J ensei tsentdeckung
Zwei zu Eins
oder Keins-
die Geset ze im Blit z der Stille verbra nnt
am Rande hinaus gebeugt
iiber mein aufgebahrtes Dasein -
In der Zwischenzeit
reist die Liebe zuweilen ins Helle
die aile schiitzende Nacht
in Scherben schlagt
Posaune
des J iin g sten Tages Licht
mit Adle rfhigeln schaudert der Leib
zu hoch entfiihrt-
270

Premoni
tions
wandering ears of corn
on a bl ack field-
lie beside me
em igra ted-air y-
lif eless disco very of a beyond
Two toOne
or None-
the laws consumed in the lightnin g of stillne ss
at the rim leaning out
over my life lai d on its bie r-
In the interim
love at times takes trips into brightness
t hat smashe s to smi thereens
all pro tecting nigh t
Tru mpe t
Light of Jud gmen t Day
the body qu ivers wit h eagl es' wing s
carried off too high-
27 I

Aile
Under haben unter me�fl u Fuss
ihre grossen Schrecken angewur zelt
die hang en schwer -uralte Ziehbrunnen
immer iiberfiillend den Abend
das totende Wort-
So kann �+-un�-gu sein
nur im Stiirzen-
Schl iesse �+-u d�gnu Aug en
Sonnen rollen an ihrer Ze� u
gol dene Heimat verlassend
und doch bewohnend
Mi neral weiss den Weg
in die aufgesparte Ewigke t5 u
befahrbar nicht mehr
nur bewusstlos in Liebe-
272

Under
my foot all the count ries
have rooted their great terror s
that hang heavy-ancient wells
al ways overfil ling evening
the killing word-
I cannot be like that
only in falling -
If I close my eyes
suns push their time
leaving golden homes
yet inhabiting them
Mi neral knows the way
to saved-u p et ern ity
no longer passable
save unconsc ious in love-
273

Im
Meer aus Minuten
je de einzelne verlangt Untergang
Rettung -Hilfe haushoch verschlungene Worte
nicht mehr Luft
nur Unterga ng
raumlos
nur Unterg ang
Ho ffnung wurde kein Schme tterling
Tod erschaff en so mi.ih sam
Was den Gott verhi.illt
auflo sen in Sand
di eses Erstl ingswort
das in die Nacht stiirmt
rettu ngslos
Er de
Trane unter den Gestir nen­
ich sink e in deinen Oberfluss -
27 4

In the
sea of minu tes
each one demands destruction
rescu e-hel p high as hous es interlaced with words
no long er air
only destruct ion
space less
only destruction
Ho pe became no butterfly
to create death with so much effort
Di ssolve in sand
that which veils the God
this first word
that rushes into ni gh t
beyond rescuing
Earth Tear among the planet s­
! go down in your plenty-
275

So
t�lq u b�Hu �--na bgefahren
iiber meine Geburt hinaus
his ich den friihe ren Tod traf
der mich wieder verst�­vu
in diese singende Pyram�Ulu
urn auszum essen das entziindete
Schwe igereich
und ich sehne m�-uwe�uvu nach dir
Tod-s ei mir kein Stiefvater mehr-
Als der grosse Schrecken kam
wur de ich Stumm-
Fi sch mit der Toten seite
nach oben gekehr t
Lu ftblasen beza hl ten den kampfenden Atem
Ai le Worte Fliichtl inge
in ihre unster blichen Verstecke
wo die Zeug ungskraft ihre Ster ngebu rten
bu chstab ieren muss
und die Zeit ihr \Vissen verl iert
in die Ratsel des Licht s-

So
deep I trav eled down
beyond my birth
till I met earl y dea th
that sent me back again
int o this singing pyramid
to sur vey the inflamed
real m of silence
an d white ly I crave you
dea th-be no stepf ather to me now-
When the great terr or came
I fell dumb-
Fish with its deathl y side
turned upward
ai r bubbles paid for the grappl ing breath
All words in flight
to thei r immortal hiding places
wh ere creati ve power has to spell
its planetar y births
and time loses its kno wledge
to the enigmas of light-
27 7

Grade
h�ifln �Hu das .Ausserste
nicht Verste ckspielen vor dem Schmer z
ich kann euch nur suchen
wenn ich den Sand in den M und nehme
urn dann die Auferst ehung zu schmecken
denn meine Trauer habt ihr verlassen
abg eschieden seid ihr von mein er Liebe
�- u meine Geliebt en-
Wo nur finden die Worte
die Erhel lten vom Erstl ingsmee r
die Aug en-Auf schlagenden
die nicht mit Zung en verwunde ten
die von den Lich ter-Weisen versteckten
fiir deine entziin dete Himmelfahrt
die Worte
die ein zum Schwe�flHuge steuertes Weltall
mit zieht in deine Friihlinge-
Im mer noch urn die Stir n g esch lunge n
den stren gen Ho rizont der Krankheit
mit dem rasenden Aufstand des Kampf es­
die Rettung sleine in den Abgrund geworfen
das Nacht-Ertrinkende zu fassen-

St
ra ight into the uttermost
no hide and seek with pain
I can only look for you
if I fill my mouth with sand
so as to taste resurrection
for you have left my sorrow
from my love you have departed
you my bel oved-
Only where find those words
those illumined by the first sea
those opening their eyes
those not wounded by tongu es
those hidden by the light -w ise
for your inflamed ascensio n
those words
whi ch a un iverse piloted into sile nce
draws along with it int o y our Spring s-
Still wound about the forehead
the strict horizon of illn ess
wit h the raving revol t of conflict­
the lifeline cast into the chasm
to hold one dr own ing in nigh t-
279

0-A-0-
A-
ein wiegendes Meer der Vokal e
Worte sind alle abgest iirzt-
Schon in dein J ense�vu wuchs
die Figur dei nes Wesens h�i"\V"vu
lang e erse hnt aus den Fernen
dort wo Uicheln und Weinen
Fin dlinge werden im Unsicht baren
die Bild er des Sehens hoher verschenkt -
Du aber die Tast en niederdr iicktest
in ihre Graber aus Musik
und Tanz die verlorene Sterns chnup pe
ei nen Fl iigel erfand fur de in Le iden
die heiden Linien von Anfang und Ende
si ngend sich nahe rten im Raum-
28 0

0-A-0-
A-
a ro cking sea of vowels
all the wor ds have crashed down-
Al ready your being's paradigm
has grown into your beyond
lo ng yearned for distantly
in that place where smil ing and weeping
become foundl ings in the invisi ble
the images of vision given away to what's higher-
But you pressed down the key s
into their graves of music
and dance the lost meteor
invented a wing for your anguish
the two lines of beginning and end
singing drew closer in space -

Dein
]ahrh undert
eine Trauerw�nY[
g eb eugt iiber Unverstiindliches
Steine trugst du
gepfl astert hast du
und wieder aufger issen
'V un den tauf e
und wieder trugst du
das war die Weise
die T od befohlene
Ma rterweise-
Ei nen Punkt im Universum
hast du auf die Schulter geladen
darin Menschenrede
den Tag verschlaft
und seelenfein
die Sonne ihr Gold verliert
in die Hand hast du den Stein genommen
der den inneren Tanz lebt
und die Nacht zu Staub zerfallen lasst
wo die namenlo se Wanderung beginnt-
J eder Schritt naher zu dir
doch der Morgen ein bli.ihe nder Aufen thalt-

Your
century
a weeping willow
overhung incomprehensible things
Stones you carried
you paved
and broke up again
the font of wounds
and again you carried
that was the way
the dea th-commanded
ma rtyr 's wa y-
You lifted on to your shoul ders
a point in the universe
in which human speech
sleeps the day throug h
and delicate as a soul
the sun loses its gol d
in your hand you took the stone
whi ch lives the interior dance
and makes nigh t cr umble to dust
where the nameless journey begins-
Every pace closer to you
b ut morn ing a bl ossoming sojo urn-

Die
Nacht koniglich todl ich eing eweiht
Eile nde tiber schlaf enden Sand
schwar zer Meridian der rieselnden Ferne
urn die Wahr heit geschlu ngen-
Holle ist nackt aus Schm erz­
Su chen
spr achlos
suche n
U berfahrt in die Rabennacht
mit allen Sint fluten
und Eiszeital tern umgiirtet
Luft anmalen
mit dem was wachst hinter der Hau t
St eu erman n geko pft mit dem Abschiedsmesser
M uschel laut ertrinkt
Su Su Su
Aber zwische n Erde und Himmel
beten immer noch die gleichen Psalmen
dre hen sich in den Koch ern aus strahlen dem Staub­
Und die Tauche r mit gi5ttl iche n Griis sen
finden kein \Vaisenreich
in den rosenroten \Valdern der Tiefe-

Ni
ght anoin ted reg ally deathly
Hur rying over sleeping sand
black meridian of tric kling dista nce
wound about truth-
Hell is naked with pain­
Seeking
speechless
seeking Cross ing into the raven night
girt with all the Floods
and Ice Ages
to paint air
with that which grows behind the skin
Pilot beheaded with the knife of departure
H urn of sea shell drowns
Su Su Su
But between eart h and sky
u ncha nged as ever th e psalms pray
tur n in thei r quive rs of radiant dust­
And the divers with divine salut ations
find no orphaned realm
in the rose-red woods of the deep-

Wann
endlich
hi nter dem Ohr
in der Sterbe ader
le gt sich mein blickl oses
Un iversum zur Ruhe-
Der Umlauf des Elut es
weint seinem geistig en Me er
en tgegen
da
wo die blaue Flamme
der Agonie
die Nacht durchbricht -
Lil ien am Aqua tor des Leidens
Als du mit deine n Ha nden
den Segen sprachst
die Fern en sich nahe rten
die Meeres verwa ndten
d em Jense its zuspiil ten
der Staub geda chtn islos zu rinnen begann-
Als deine Kinnlade sank
mit dem Gewich t der Erde-

·when
a t last
behind the ear
i n the death-vein
will my sightless unive rse
lie down to rest-
The blood's circulation
weeps toward
its spiri tual sea
there
wh ere the blue flame
of agony
bur sts through night-
Lil ies on the equa tor of ang uish
Whe n wit h your hands
you pronounce d the bless ing
dist ances contracted
thos e akin to the sea
drifte d tow ard the beyond
and dust without memory began to flow-
When your jaw dropped
with the weight of earth -

Ill In meiner Kammer
wo mein Bett steht
ein Tisch ein Stuhl
der Ki.ichenh erd
kniet das Univ ersum wie i.iberall
urn erlost zu werden
von der Unsich tbarke it­
Ich mache einen Strich
schr eibe das Alphabeth
male den selbs tmorderisch en Spruch an die Wand
an dem die N eug eburten so fort knospen
schon halte ich die Gest irne an der Wahrheit fest
da begi nnt die Erde zu hammern
die N acht wird lose
fa llt aus
toter Zahn vom Gebiss-
Di es ist ein Ausflug an eine Stelle
wo die Scha tten andere Vertrage unters chreiben­
Du sitzest mir abgewandt
de in Ri.icken durchzieht die N acht
deine Rede mit dem Gegeni.iber ist lautlos
Propheze ihungen-f ahle Blitze
an der Asch enwand
28 8

Ill
In my room
whe re my bed stands
a tabl e a chai r
the kitchen stove
the univ erse kneels as everywhere
to be redeemed
from invisibil ity-
! draw a line
w rite down the alphabet
pa int on the wall the suicidal words
that make the newborn burgeon at onc e
I have just fastened the pl anets to truth
when the earth begins to hamm er
ni gh t works loose
drops out
dead tooth from the gum-
Th is is an exc ursion to a place
whe re the shadows sign othe r con tracts­
you sit turned away from me
your back moves through nigh t
your talk with the othe r side is mut e
pr ophecies -pale lightning
on the wall of ashes

Im
Grtinen wird vie l gestorben
In den Grabern seid ihr sand ige Nahe-
Und du ging st tiber den Tod
wie der Vogel im Schnee
immer schwarz siegelnd das Ende­
Die Zeit schluckte
was du ihr gabst an Abschied
his auf das ausserste Verlassen
die Finger spitzen entlang
Auge nnach t
Kor perl os werden
Die Luft umspt ilte-e ine Ellipse­
d ie Strasse der Schme rzen-
Dann einsam
mit dem Schauderfltigel
wie die Manner im Polareis
wo Eines imm er mit ist tiber der Zahl ­
Der Trau ermantel Nacht
hat eine \Vun de
deckt nicht-

There's
much dying out there in the gree nness
You are sand y nearness out there in your graves
And you walked over death
like J bir d in snow
always blackly sealing the end­
Time gulped down
whatev er you gave it of parting
righ t to the utmost forsaking
along the fingertips
ni ght of eyes
To grow bodile ss
The air was washed all round by­
an ellipse-the street of pains-
Then alone
with the shiveri ng wing
li ke men in polar ice
wh ere always tht>re is a supernume rary One­
the mourni ng-cloak night
has a wound
wo n't cover me-

Bin
in der Fremde
die ist behiitet von der 8
dem heilig en Schleif eneng el
Der ist immer unterwegs
durch unser Fleisch
Unruhe stiftend
u nd den Staub fiugreif machend -
Und ich ged enke ihrer
im Delirium des Abs turzes
die ihr Kind aus Luft wi eder erschuf
»De�Hi­-e­vu Be�Huvogel leicht ­
dein linkes Bein vogelle icht-
tj ui tjui-
Locken im Siidwind
He rzen konnen wie Wasser zittern in der Hand
wie \Vasser zittern
Au genli d offen aus Tief e-«

Am
in strange parts
protected by the 8
the holy looped angel
He is always on his way
through our flesh
creating unrest
and making dust ripe for flying -
And I think of her
in the delirium of falling
whose child re-created her out of air
"y our right leg bi rd-lig h t-
your left leg bird-l ight-
tooee tooee-
Call in the south wind
He arts like water can trem ble in one 's hand
li ke water trem ble
E y elid held open by depth-"
293

Ich
sah ihn a us dem Haus treten
das Feue r hatte ihn angebrannt
aber nicht verbran nt
Er trug eine Aktentasche aus Schlaf
un ter dem Arm
darinnen wares schwer von Buchstaben und Zahlen
eine ganze Mathema tik-
In seinem Arm war eingebra nnt:
7337 die Leitzahl
Die se Zahl en hatt en sich mite inander verschworen
Der Mann war Raum vermesser
Schon hoben sich seine Fiisse von der Erde
Ei ner wartete oben auf ihn
urn ein neues Paradies zu erb auen
»A her warte nur-balde ruhest du auch- «
Gef angen iiberal l
die Strasse die ich gehe
die Fahr zeug e de nen ich ausweiche
Das Eing ekaufte verstauen
alle s hel lsicht ige Ausfl iige in eure Gebiete­
St rauchelt mcin Fuss-sc hmerzt
ein Umweg in eu re Wohnung en -
2 9 4

I
saw him step from the house
the fire had singed
but not burned him
He carried a briefcase of sleep
under one arm
heavy inside with letters and figures
a whole arithmetic-
Int o his arm was branded :
7337 the ruling number
These number s had conspi red among themselves
The man was a su rveyor
Already his feet were rising from the eart h
One was waiting for him above
to build a new paradise
"Only wait-you too will soon be at rest-"
Captive everywhere
the street that I wal k
the vehicles I avoid
Put away the things I have bought
all visiona ry excursions into your realms­
My foot trips-hurts
a de tour into your dwellin gs-
29 5

Deborah wurde von Sternen zerstochen
und sang doch Siegesgesange
als die Berge zerflossen
und auf weissglanzenden Eseln wie Wahr sager
die Reiterschar dahinzog
Aber Schwe igen ist Wohnort der Opf er-
Ein Spie l wie blinde Kuh
auf griinem Wiesenpl an
als die Jungfrauen verfolgt
to dli ch schreckgej agd
auf Baume stiegen
die wuchsen in den Himmel
und sie stiirzten in die Leere
das Sieb engestirn
verl oren die Tran e
in der Waisenkol onie-
"\Ver kann sich verstecken
wie der Fluss im Me er
oder biegen die N acht
die eisern Schlaf ende
in s we isse Feuer
das »Off en« schre ibt
wenn die Erde ein Fussbre it Jam mer ist
unt er ihrem Schopf er-

Deborah was stabbed by stars
and yet sang triumphant hymns
when the mountains dissolved
an d on whit e-gleaming donkeys like pr ophets
the troop of hor semen moved on
But silence is where the victims dwell-
A ga me like blindman 's buff
on the green meadow
when the virgi ns purs ued
hun ted by deadly panic
cl imbed on to trees
that grew into the sky
and they plunged into the void
the sevenf old constel lation
lost the tear
in the orph ans' colony -
Who can hide
li ke a river in the sea
or bend nigh t
bra zenly sleeping
into the whit e fire
that writes "Open"
when earth is five inches of mi sery
beneath her creato r-
29 7

N
ich t �I ER noch DORT
aber im Schlaf doppelziingig
die Natur stott ert in ihren Untergang
der Schatten geht nach Haus
Auf den Lebensl inien wandert der Planet
saugt konigl iche Bo tschaften ein
wird reiche r-
Sie sties sen zusammen auf der Strasse
Zwei Schicksale auf dieser Erde
Zwei BlutkreisHiuf e in ihrem Adernetz
Zwei Atmende auf ihrem Weg
in diesem Sonnensys tem
U ber ihre Gesic hter zog eine Wol ke for t
die Zeit hatte einen Sprung bekommen
Erinnern lug te herein
Ferne und Nahe waren Eines geworden
Von Vergan genheit und Zukunft
funkel ten zwei Schicksal e
und fielen auseinander-

Not
HERE nor THERE
but double -tongued in sleep
Nat ure stamme rs ou t her decl ine
the shadow goes home
The planet rambles along the lines of life
sucking in regal messages
grows richer-
Th ey coll ided in the street
Two destin ies on this earth
Two circulations of blood in their arteries
Two that breathed on their way
in this solar sy stem
Ov er thei r faces a cloud passed
time had cracked
Reme mbrance peered in
Th e far and the near had fused
From past and future
two destinies glitt ered
and fell apart-
29 9

Fortge
hen ohne Riickschau-
das letzte Zittergras a us dem Aug e reissen
Als Tsong Khapa seinen Meister verl iess
wandte er sich nicht nach ihm urn
De r Abs chied wohnte in seinem Schritt
Die Zeit flammte aus seinen Schultern-
Der Verl assene rief:
» \V erft seine H iitte in den Abgrund-«
Und die Hiitte schwebte iiber dem Abgrund
von fiinff arbig em Licht durchstochen-
Un d der ohne Abschied schritt
in den abgezehrten Ort der nur Geist ist
Und sein Haus war kein Haus mehr
Nu r Licht-
Schnell er Zeit schnel ler
wenn die zweite Sekunde die erste auf die Knie driickt
die goldene Armee den ganzen Tag ausger iickt
in der Eile
bis abends aile besie gt sind
ein Rosmarin der Himmel
die Nacht den Tod in seine Urspr ungsfarbe wascht
die Elemente heimwehk rank durchbrennen
3 00

Leave
withou t looking back-
tear the last quaki ng-grass from your eyes
When Tsong-kha-pa left his mast er
he did not turn to look
De parture dwelt in his stri de
Time flared up from his shou lders-
The man left behind cried out:
"Throw his hovel into the chasm-"
And the hovel floated above the chasm
shot through with five-h ued light­
And he of no par ting strode
into the croppe d place that is pure spirit
And his house was no lo nger a ho use
O nly light-
Faste r time faste r
when the second second forces the first to its knees
the golden army all day long on the march
in haste
till at even ing all have been beaten
a rosema ry bu sh the sky
nig ht washes death down to its primal color
the element s sick with nostalg ia break loose
30I

zum
Meer lauf en
atemlos werden
das Bl iihen verwe igern
denn es starb wieder Einer
der die Zeit mass-
Ich schre ibe dich-
Zur Wel t bist du wie der gekommen
mit geist ernder Buchstabenkraft
die hat getastet nach deinem Wesen
Licht scheint
und deine Fingersp itzen gliihen in der Nacht
St ern bild bei der Geburt
aus Dunk elheit wie diese Zeilen-
Den Schlaf die Decke der Siebensc hlafer
iib er sich ziehn
Das Verstossene in der Wunde
und \Vidderbl itze vom Jiingsten Gericht
verstecken mit Siegeln-
Aber erst das blut ig geg eisselte \Vort
bric ht in die Auf erstehung en ein
die Seel e am Fl iigel-
J0 2

run
to the sea
grow breathless
refuse to blossom
folu another has died
who took time's measur e-
I w­elu you-
You have come into the world again
wit h the haunting strength of lett e­e u
that groped for your essence
Li gh t shines
and your fingertips glow in the night
Const ellation at the birth
of darkness like these verses-
Pull over oneself
sleep the blanket of the seven sleepe rs
Hi de with seals
that in the wound which was exiled
and ­"\Vm-lightning of the Last Judgment­
But only the word lashed bloody
b­­"\VIvu into ­esur rectio n
the soul on its wing -
JOJ

Dun
kles Zis cheln des Windes
im Get reide
Das Opfer zum Leiden bereit
Die Wurzel n sind still
aber die Ahren
wis sen viele Muttersprach en-
Und das Salz im Meer
weint in der Ferne
De r Stein ist eine feurig e Existenz
und die Elemente reissen an ihren Ketten
zur Vere inigung
wenn die Geis terschrift der Wolken
Urbild er heimh olt
Geheimnis an der Grenze des Todes
»L ege den Finger an den Mund :
Schweig en Schw eigen Schwe igen«-
Vier Tage vier Nacht e
war ein Sarg dein Versteck
Ob erleben atmete ein-und aus­
Tod zu ver spaten-
Zwischen vier Brett ern
lag das Le iden der Welt-

Da
rk hissing of the wind
in the corn
The victim ready to suffer
The roots are still
but the ears of corn
kno w many native langu ages-
And the salt in the sea
weeps afar
The stone is a fie ry being
and the elements tug on thei r chains
to be united
when the ghostly script of the clouds
fe tch es home primal images
My stery on the border of death
"L ay a finger upon your lips:
Sil ence Silence Silence "-
Four days four nights
a coffin was your hiding place
Su rviva l breat hed in-breathed out­
to delay death-
Bet ween four boards
lay the wor ld's angu ish-
3°5

Drau.ssen
wuchs die Minute vollo-Blumen
am H immel spielten \\"olk.en-
Das Samenkomgeheimnis gel'·orfm
l•;urz el t schon in der Zukunft
setzt an:
Ein T anz in den Ardennen
unterirdisches Suchen
nach dem Gesicht im Bergkristall
:\lorgenrote im �ichts iiber
dem Siidmeer
Lie ben de
halt en die Muschel mit dem Konzen
der Tiefsee ans Ohr
Ein S tem offnet sich rum Eingang
De r :\fo nd hat Besuch gehabt
De r Greis kehn nicht wieder
Eine Gebun saugt am Leben-
30 6

Out
side grew the m�i"elufull of flowers
over the sky clouds played -
Th rown the seed grain's myste ry
already strikes root in the future
begins :
A dance in the Arde nnes
sub terranean seeking
for the face in the rock crystal
Da wn in the Nothingness above
the South Sea
Lo vers
hold to their ea rs the conch
with the deep-sea concert
A star opens to an entrance
The moon has had visitors
The old man does not retu rn
A birth sucks at life-J07

EL
I: A My stery Pla y of the
Stiff erings of Isra el
Tra nslated by Chr istopher Holme

CH
ARAC TERS
Washerwoman
Baker Woman
Samuel
Jo sse le
Girl s
Brickla yers
Mi cha el
Pe ddl er Me ndel
Woman Man
Knif e Grinder
Hu nchback
Bl ind Girl
Fi ddl er
Young Woman
Crowd of Worsh ippe rs
Var ious Voices
TIME
Af ter Martyrdo m Man
with a Mi rror
The Dajan
Beg gar
Rabbi
Old Wom an
Old Man
Ca rpen ter
Gardener Creature
Farmer
Te acher
Sh oemaker
Hi s Wif e
Postman Doctor
Child ren

SCENE
ONE
l\f ark etpl ac e of a sma ll Po lish �7e in whi ch a nu mber of
sw- vivon of the Jew ish peop le have come togethe r. The
ho uses around abou Ie in mi ns. No thing but a fo unt ain in
t h e mi ddle , at wh ich a man is work in g, cu tting and laying p ipes
\VASHERWOMAN (c a rry in g a ba sket full of white lin en . C han ting )
From the laund ry, the laund ry I come
from washing the garments of death,
from wa shing the shirt of Eli,
wash ing out the blood, washing out the sweat,
chi ld-sw eat, ·wash ing out death.
(T o the pipe layer )
To you, Samuel, will I bring it,
to the Cattle Lane bring it at evening,
where the bats flutter around in the air
as I flu tter the Bible pages
lo oking for the Song of Lamentatio n
where it burns and smokes and the stones fall.
Your gran dson 's shirt will I bring you,
the shirt of Eli.
BAKER '"'OMAN
Ho w came it, Bid dy, that he was struck dumb?
'\VASHERWOMAN It was on the morn ing when they fetched the son,
tore him from bed, from sleep-
JIJ

as
they had torn open the doolu
to the Shrine of Shrines in the Temple­
fo rbid, forbid-
thus they tore him from sleep.
Rachel his wif e, too , they tore from sleep,
drove her before them throug h the Cattle Lane,
the Catt le La ne-the widow Rosa sat
at the corner, a t the window
and told the story of how it ha ppened
until they shut her mouth
wit h a thorn , because her husband was a garden er.
El i in his nig htsh irt ran after his paren ts,
h is pipe in his hand,
the pipe he had played in the fields
to lamb and calf-
and Samuel , the grandf ather,
ran after his grandson.
And when Eli saw,
saw with the eyes of an eigh t-year-ol d
how they drove his parents
through the Cattle Lane, the Cattle La ne,
he put the pipe to his mouth and blew it.
And he did not blow it
as one who pipes to his cattl e or in play,
s aid the wid ow Rosa while she was yet alive,
no , he threw back his head
li ke the stag or the roebuck
be fore it dr inks at th e spr ing.
He pointed the pipe to heaven,
he piped to God, did Eli ,
said the widow Rosa while she was yet alive.

BAKER
WOMAN
Come aside, Biddy, so that he may not hear,
hear our talk, the dumb one.
Mu st lik e a sponge else suck in our word s,
can bring nothing forth from his throat,
tied tight with death .
(T hey go aside)
WA SHER WOMAN
A soldie r ma rching with the procession
looked around and saw Eli
piping to hig h hea ven,
st ruck him down dead with his rifle butt.
A young soldier he was, very young still,
said the widow Rosa.
Samuel took up the corpse ,
sat down upon a mil eston e,
and is dumb.
BAKER WOMAN
Was not Michael then at hand
to come to the rescue of Eli?
WASHER WOMAN
Mi chael was in the house of prayer,
in the burning house of prayer,
he che cked the flames,
he saved Jossele,
saved Dajan,
sa ve d Ja cob ,
but Eli is dead.
3IJ

BAKER
WOMAN (meditating)
And would perhaps have come to an end with him,
the momen t
when HE forsook us?
WASHER WOMAN
And the widow Rosa added too
that Michael came a minute too late,
a tiny minute ,
lo ok, tiny as the eye of my needl e
wit h which I had just been sewing up the torn seam
o f El i's shirt.
Why do you think he came too late,
he whom no enemy detained?
He took one step into the side street,
a sing le step,
there where the house of Mir iam once stood,
and then he turned around-
and Eli was dead.
Then said the widow Rosa:
But Michael has the unbroken vision,
not like ours which sees only fragm ents­
he has the Baalshem vision,
from one end of the world to anothe r-
(S he approach es the foun tain)
Samuel , will it be read y for the Feast ,
for New Year, the fountain?
SA MU EL nod s
BAKER \VOMAN
I' ll tell you, Bid dy, a sec ret.
I he ar the footste ps!
JI 6

WASHER
WOMAN
Wh at footsteps do you hear, Basia?
BAKER WOMAN
When they fetched Isaac, my husband,
the baker, because he baked the pretzel s,
the sugar pretzels with forb idden flour,
when they fetched him from the ovens,
I gave him his overcoat,
because the cold outs ide was cutting­
they whinnied like horses
whinnying with joy at thei r oats-
"He'll be back, quicker than he can put it on­
he'll be back !"
He carne back, withou t fo otsteps!
That's when the foots teps began in my eariu
The heavy footst eps,
the strong footsteps,
they said to the earth :
I'll break you open-
in bet ween, his dragging step,
for he walked littl e,
breathed heavily in the cold,
at the ovens he stood,
by day and by night -
WASHERWOMAN Do you hear the footstep s sti ll?
BAKER WOMAN
They live in my ear,
they walk in the daytime
JIJ

they
walk �Hu the nighttime,
whet her you speak or I speak,
I hear them always.
WASHER WOMAN
Ask Michael
if he can rid you of the footsteps.
I must ask Michael what he knows.
For he stit ches sole to up pers,
he must know more than just how to wander to the
grav e.
Let me tell you, Basia, I'm a washerwoman,
I' ve made the lye, I've washed, I've r�i­U u
but today at the laundry,
there where the seam was torn on Eli's shirt­
there it looked at me-
BAKER WOMAN
If only I could,
I'd open the seam above there,
made bloody by the sun,
could Isaac's eyes but see me­
I'd say,
caught behind bars I am,
bars made of footsteps,
open the bars,
let me out of the heavy foots teps,
the strong footsteps
wh�-u bteak open the earth-
�Hu bet ween, your dragging step-
WASHER WOMAN
The founta�n's run ning!
JI 8

BAKER WOMAN
The fountain's running!
(S he cups her hand s and drinks)
Take away the footsteps,
the footsteps from my ear­
the footsteps-f ootste ps-
(S he falls to the ground )
Cur tain
ScENE Two
The same marketpl ace, seen from a differ ent angle.
The foun tain plays. At one of the ruined houses an
ol d br ick layer and his appren tice are work ing. In
the backg round a na rro w, ruined alley at the end of
whi ch the pmyer tent can be seen. Green landscape
gleams through everywh ere
B RIC KLAYER
Jo ssel e, fill the bucket at the fountain,
run for the lime there where they're buildin g,
bu ilding outside the gates the new tcwn .
No gates are there any more,
no old town any more.
No house of prayer any more,
only earth enough for the holy ground.
(T o hi mse lf)
This was a house, here, this was a he arth,
there's a saucepan still, burned black.
He re's a col ored ribbon,

perhaps
it was a cradle bow­
perhaps it was an apron string­
who knows?
Here's a skullc ap.
'Vho wore it?
A young man or an old one or a boy?
Did it guard the Eighteen Benedictions, the silent
ones,
from idle thoughts,
from wicked thoughts,
or-who knows?
A WoMAN in a ni gh tdress hurries up the narrow
al ley, knocki ng with her finger on wall s and stone s
BRICKL AYER
Es ther ·weinbe rg, what 're you knocking at?
The re's no answer locked in the stone.
JossELE (with the bucket)
The woman has run out of the in firmary,
now she's pi cking up stones and throwing them away-
BRICKL AYER
jOSSELE Wants
to break out of her prison-
But what is she doing now?
Op ening and shutting her hand s li ke cups
and filling them with air.
ST ONEMA SON'S WIFE (singing)
Your right leg
li ght as a bir d-
]2 0

your
left leg
li ght as a bi rd-
curls in the south wind-
hearts can shiver like water in the hand­
shi ver like water -
Oh ... Oh
(S he runs off)
BRICKL AYER
She makes her child out of air-
(He takes a stone )
We make graves,
but she has broken out alrea dy-
is taking lessons alrea dy with HIM-
Jo ssELE (runs after the woman and retur ns)
The woman is dead.
Said to a sto ne: "H ere I com e,"
st ruck her brow upon it and died.
This letter was lying beside her.
BRICKL AYER (reading)
"F inely veined like your temples was the ston e.
Laid it to my cheek before going off to slee p,
fe lt its depress ions,
fe lt its eleva t ions,
its smooth and jagged places­
bl ew upon it,
and it br eathes like you , Esther
Thi s is from Gad, her husband, "
who slaved himself to death in the quarry,
bearing Israel 's bu rden-
J2I

JossELE weeps and sighs
BRIC KLAYER
Don 't cry, Jossel e.
Let us bueVu the old house anew.
If tears hang on the stonework,
if s�-vu hang on the woodwork,
if the little ch�d ren can't sleep,
death has a soft bed.
(He lays bricks, singing and whistling)
Mas ter of the wor ld!
Thou, Thou, Thou, Thou!
Master of all stones !
Thou, Thou, Thou, Thou!
Where can I find Thee,
and where can I not find Thee?
Thou, Thou, Thou, Thou!
Cu rtain
SCENE THREE
The ruined alley near the mar ketpl ace, which can just be
se en. The foun tain plays. Children come runnin�
OLDER GIRL
The school teacher sa�0 u
today was the day
of Mi chael 's wedd ing years ago,
the day they snatched his bride from h�) u
bef ore the blessing of the candles.
)22

YOUNGER
�UgA
What shall we play?
OL DER �IRL
Wedding and candl e-blessing
and I'll be the bride-
Boy (seizing her)
And I'll snatch you away.
OL DER �I RL (freeing herself)
No, I do n't want that,
jOSSEL E I'
ll find myself a baby to cradl e.
When I wen t on the ship,
the sea alway s trave led away with us
li ke the roll of yarn
when I make it pop up on the thread,
but we did n't reach the whit e
where it begins.
But in sleep I was there .
When I wo ke up, someone said:
Ma ny are drowned,
but you are saved.
But often the water still follows me.
YouNGER GIRL
I sat deep below in the nigh t,
and there was a woman there,
as kind as Sister Leah from the infirm ary
and she said : Sleep, I'll watch.
And then there came a wall in my mout h
and I ate a wall.
323

OLDER
GIRL
Was the woman your mothe r?
YOUNGER GIRL Mother? what's that?
OLDER GIRL (pulling a rag out of the rubbl e)
He re is linen,
and here's a piece of wood
cha rred only at one end.
No w I've got a ba by,
a baby with black hair,
And now I'll cradle it.
(Singing )
Once on a time there was a tale­
the tale is not a gay one,
the tale begins with singing
about a king of the Jews.
On ce on a time there was a ki ng­
a king there was, he had a queen,
the queen she had a vin eyard­
Ly ulinka, my child
YOUNGER GIRL
Did you learn that from Becky?
OL DER GIRL
Yes.
(Singi ng)
The vineyard it had a tree,
th e tree it had a bo ugh,

the
boug h it had a little n est­
Lyu linka, my child
jO SSELE
Look, I've found a bone-
who makes himself a pipe of dead men's bones
will never pipe the cattle forth-
OL DER GIRL
Do es the water still follow you?
Jo SSELE
Yes, sometimes,
but more often it is the hanged Isidor who comes
and says: My friend, a rol l of yarn
holds like a rope-
OLDER GIRL
Jo ssELE It
's lat e,
let's go to Becky .
Give me your baby,
I'll throw it on the rub ble,
there it can cry.
OLD ER GIRL
No , do n't do that,
Mi riam its name is,
and I'll go into the kitchen,
and ask Becky for a whis k,
that 'll do for a head.

(Singing
)
The nest it had a little bird,
the bird it had a little wing,
the wing it had a lit tle feather­
Ly ulinka, my child ...
(A s they all go off slowl y, singing from backsta ge)
The king he had to die,
the queen she had to perish,
the tree had to shatt er,
the bird fly from its nest
Curtai n
ScENE FouR
MIC HAEL's cobb ler's shop in the only unr uined house.
Th rough the wind ow, mo onligh t and open fields. Shel ves
on the walls with shoes on them . Ta ble with tools.
Bench before the window. MICHAEL, tall, thi n, with
reddish hair. He snat ches a pair of shoe s and puts
them on the win dow bench. Then he lifts up a shoe,
so that it is silh ouetted in black against the moonligh t.
It is a small woman' s shoe
MICHAEL You trod so lightly,
the grasses rose behind your feet.
He re is the strap you tore,
as you hurried toward me, that time­
quick is love ,
the sun as it ris es
is slower far.
Mi riam-

(
H e sin ks to the grou n d, hi s head between his kn ees)
'W hat const ellation saw your death?
'Vas it the moon, the sun, or the night?
with stars, without stars?
A clou d passes across the moon. The ro om is almo st
dar k. Gl iding footsteps are he ard. A sigh, then a
ro ugh man' s voi ce
MAl'�J 's Vorc E
Thou art fa ir, my love,
were I thy brideg room
I should be jealous of death,
but thus -
Wild la u gh ter, screa ms
MI5I lies for a long time motionless. The moon sh ines
a ga in. He raises himse lf, snatche s up a pai r of
he avy men' s shoe s
MICHAEL Isido r's shoe s,
the pa·wnbroker 's shoes,
hea vy sho es.
A worm is stuck to the sole,
a trodden worm.
The moon sh ines on,
ju st as when it saw your death.
(He sinks to the grou nd in the same position as before.
Heavy footsteps are he ard)
FIRST VOICE
Don't hang it up,
I' ve go t it in a casket ,
327

of
sandal wood the casket is-
was the jewel case of the rich, then poor, Sarah­
good customer she was-
SECOND VOICE
Sp eak, what about the casket?
FIRST VOICE
Bu ried it, behind the beech tree,
the only beech tree among the pines­
the re's a ring inside,
has a stone, an aquama rine,
has a blue fire, the aquamarine­
the whol e Medi terranean is in it­
blue, so blue, when the sun plays-
No -in the pock ets nothing rattles, empty­
That's the night wind,
rattl ing silver in the leaves-
SECOND VOICE
Rattle on then with the night wind, you-
MICHAEL lie s moti onless . He gets up aga in, snatche s
a p air of chi ld's shoes and lifts them above his head.
The morn in g sun begins to redden the sky
MICHAEL Shoes,
trodden over on the inside,
lamb's wool sticking to them­
Eli -
(He sin ks into the same posit ion as before. The renDe
note s of a pi pe are heard)
Cur tain

SCENE
FIVE
Room of a ruined building. SAMUEL sits on a bed of
boar ds. On his lap is El i's death shirt . A can dle flicker s.
MIC HAEL enters
MIC HAEL
Samuel, I pray you to help me find what I am seek ing,
I seek the hand ,
I seek the eyes,
I seek the mouth,
I seek the piece of skin,
in to which the corruptio n of this earth has entered,
I seek Eli's murderer.
I seek the dust
which since Cain has mingled
with every murderer' s dust and waited,
me anwh ile has formed birds perhaps­
and then mu rderers.
Perhaps it formed the mandrakes
for which Rachel gave up a night to Leah­
Perhaps it encased Sammael's exhalations of hate­
To think
that this dust may have touched the prayer book of
Luria,
when it lay hidden,
till its lette rs spouted flames­
to think -
Oh, what dust is it that I bring you here on my shoes.

(He
takes off his shoe s)
Samuel , let me ask your dumb ness,
Was he tall?
SA MUEL shake s hi s head
MICHAEL Was he shorter than I and taller than you?
SA MUEL nods
MIC HAEL
His hair, was it fair?
S AM UEL nods
MIC HAEL
His eyes, black, blue?
S AMUEL shake s hi s head
MICHAEL Gray?
S AMUEL nods
MICHAEL His color, red-cheeked, healthy?
S AMUE L sha kes hi s head
MICHAEL Pale then?
33°

SAMUEL
nods
MICHAE L (so bbing)
Ho w many millions of men has the earth?
Mur derers like Cain.
Crumbl ed ma ndrakes,
nighting ale dust,
Du st of prayer books,
from which letters spring out like flames.
SAMUEL hands MI CHAEL a sheph erd's pipe. MICHAEL
br ea the s in to it. A weak note is he ard. He poin ts
to the death sh irt, on whi ch the form of a man's head
is sil houet ted
Look, oh look,
t he candle throws the shad ow­
or your dumbness speaks:
Very young still,
the nose is broad,
it s nost rils quiver with bl ood lust,
the eyes have the pupils of a wol f­
The mouth is small as a chil d's-
The face disappears
Thus faces are compounded in dreams ­
wa ter poured from the invisible-
It is gone
and burns in my eyes .
Until I find him
it wil l ge t between me and ever ything on this earth,
it will hang in the air-
In the bread I eat
JJ I

this
nightmare dust will be my food.
In the apple I eat
the murder er's face will lurk­
Samu el,
your speech has already reached
wh ere all dust is at an end.
Be yond the Word this thing was compounded.
(He backs to the door, where he put s on his shoe s)
Cu rtain
ScENE Six
Open side of the mar ketpl ace, giving on to the fields.
Th e splashing of
the foun tain is he ard. On a sa nd y path
in plow land, PEDDLER MENDEL stands an d cries his wares,
sur round ed by onl ookers
MENDEL Barga in offer ! Amazing opportu nity!
It is my privil ege to show you:
Ap ron mate rial, washabl e, col orfast, with flower
desig ns,
wit h bu tterfly designs,
St ock ings of wool , st ock ings of silk, straight from Paris.
El astic, look, you can stretch it
from here to kingdom come, and back it spring s­
di rect fwm America.
From England I have lavender for headaches
and pepperm int for a bad dige stion-
But this linen now from Russia-
not now for the dead, no long er,
33 2

not
for the feet poin ting toward the do or­
no , for the lovely bride, for baby too-
W oMAN (to her husband )
Look here,
MAN what
a holid ay dress that'd make for me,
just now with the New Yea r coming in.
We live in the poorhouse,
you have neither tabl e no r chai r,
what do you want with such stuff?
WoMAN
MAN Why,
look now,
th e lit tle St erntal woma n
has a be tter husband than I,
he 's bough t he r the fine scarf already.
Where you now stand, it ran with bl ood­
We are saved
WoMAN and ought to have joy in our safety.
MAN (to the PEDDLER)
Yo u're spoil ing the women all over again.
This love of finery
will bring even mourning crepe out in plea ts and
flounces .
MENDEL I ha ve no wife,
but if I had one, I'd vie with Solomon.
33 3

MAN He
who praises the virtuous wife
praises her attire as well-
Very well, measure me a le ngth of the stuff.
KNIFE �
DER
Sc issors to gri nd,
Kn ives to grind,
Si ckles for the new crop-
ANOTHER WOMAN
I wish he'd be off ...
and do his grinding away from here­
The noise of kn ives grinding
Is more than a body can stand -
KNIFE �U
DER
Ne xt time you eat
yo u'll need a kni fe­
Ne xt time you harvest
yo u'll need a kn ife­
When next you dress
two knives you'll need.
(He grinds on)
OTHER WoMAN
A l ot it ma tters to yo u -
or don 't you feel it? that your grinding
carves up the world in pie ces.
KNIFE GRINDER
I hate no body,
want to give no offense-
! g rin d because it's my trade-
33 4

OTHER WOMAN
So it's his trade,
as it's mine to weep­
and another's to die.
Tw o teen age girls go across
ONE GIRL (speaking to the PEDDLER )
Pe ddl er, I want to buy a hank of wool en yarn .
(To her comp anion)
Let me lay the hank around your wrists.
You hold them still while I wind
and it's li ke saying goodbye.
Me they held fast by the wrists
and took my mother away-
and the goodby e wen t from her to me­
from me to her,
till it was at an end-
The y walk on. A FIDDLER has come and start s to play . The y all
be gin to dan ce
HUNC HBACK
What longing in the bon es-
the old Adam ferments in the notes,
the new man has hi s first rib already.
BL IND GIRL comes with hands str etched before her,
ho lding twigs and stic ks. She is bar efoot an d dressed in
rags
G IRL (com ing to a halt in front of the FIDDLER )
T here 's a twitching under my foot.
The pavement of our longing must be here at an end.
There go all my journey s.
335

(She thr ows down the sticks)
Always, when my feet got a new wound
a jo urney was at an end
li ke a cl ock that strikes.
I wan ted to see my love once more
but then they took away my eyes-
from that time on, I coun ted midnight.
No w I am but a tea r removed from my love,
and the last wound has opened in my foot-
(S he sink s to the ground and is taken away)
HUN CHBACK
She's brought with her only the skeleton of helu
jou rneys-
The flesh is all consumed with longi ng­
She wan ted to see her love once more­
but the Devil
shies from the mirror of love in a human look
and shattered it-
Two CHILDREN (collect the twigs and sing)
·we'v e got sticks,
we'v e got journeys,
we' ve got bones,
ei, ei, ei-
MENDEL This one stick
I co uld use to tie up my bundle,
the othe rs you can keep.
FIDDL ER plays on, and everybod y dan ces

HUNC
H�p
Don't dance so heavily
knocking at the walls of sleep­
it could flood you,
too many young hearts ins�UlXJ­e
the re'll be love dust-
Who knows how that grain will taste­
who knows?
YouNG WoMAN (with a child on her arm, to the HuNC H�0p
Do n't stare at my child like tha t!
God preserve it from the evil eye-
HUNC H�mp
For bid that I should scorch it with my look.
I only wonder
how you were able to bear it
in these times-
YouNG WoMAN In a hol e in the earth I bore it,
in a hole I suckl ed it-
De ath took its father,
me he did not take,
s aw the milk in my breasts
and did not take me.
Hu NCH�mp (repeating her words)
And diu not take you-
YouNG WoMAN
Forgive me if I offended you.
But God preserve me,
I thought at firs t
337

you were a
liv� u p�­lu
of Israel 's mi sfortu ne.
HUNCHB ACK (poin ting to his hum p)
You saw the satchel
�Hu wh�-u the scapeg oat carr�­ u�4 u people's misfortune.
Yo uNG \VoMAN
To me �4 useems
a hundr ed or more years have passed
si nce I sat � umy h ole-
1 can 't bear the light any more­
l only blink-
T o me these seem not human be�gs,
mo unds of earth I see danci ng­
n�-4 u can preserve no names.
\V hat ever barks, whatever s�ngs
I' ve long forgo tten-
Hu NcHBACK (pointi ng to the long shadows thrown by the
PEDD LER)
It 's a la te hour already � uIsra el.
Al l the dan cers thmw long shadow s. Their bodies are
as if bl ot ted out by the glare of the even ing sun.
Onl y the YouNG \VmrAN with her child stands
out clea rly in the ligh t
Cur tain
ScENE SEVE N
Ma rlwt place as at the beg inn ing . In the bac kg mund the
nar mw alley ending in the praye r te n t. A CROWD OF
\V oR SlllPPE RS is ga thering for the Festiv a l Serv ic e
J J 8

FIRST
WORSH IPPER
He re is the place
whe re baker Isaac of the shuffling gait
was struck down because of a sug ar pre tzel .
His shop sign was an iron pretzel,
o n it the child ren's eyes
had fastened with longing,
and eaten their fill of it-
One child fell dead,
had eaten enou gh.
Tho ught Isaac,
I'll bake a su gar pretzeL
then another and once again,
so th at they'll not eat themselve s to death
with their eyes on the iron pretzel .
One pretzel he baked, no more.
The iron pretzel glowed
as in the baker's oven fire,
un til a man of war took it away,
mel ted it down for the next death.
A MAN with a look ing glass in his hand passes by, looking into it
MAN There, where you carried your children­
! bel ieve we were seven in num ber-
th ere your body collapsed on to the grave gaping
below,
your wi thered breasts hung over it in mourning.
0 my mother,
your murderer held a mi rror before you
so that you might have a comic death­
Mo ther, you looked at your self
339

until
your jaw sagged on to your breast-
but the great Angel spread his wing s over you!
Thr ough the barbed wire of the times
he came hasting to you
wit h torn wings-
for iron and steel have grown rampant, Mot her,
buil ding primeval fore sts in the air­
mur derers ' br ains have grown rampant-
vines of premed itate d angu ish sprou ting from them.
Mi rror, mirror,
echo from the forest of the dead­
victims and hangmen,
victim s and hangmen
pl ayed with their breath up on you the dying game.
Mot her,
one day there'll be a constel lation called Mir ror.
(He passes on)
SECOND \VORSHIPPER (to THIRD \VoRSHIPPE R)
Is he still saying kaddish into the mirror?
THIR D "\VORSH IPPE R
Yes. Holy Baalshem,
la st sheaf -carrier of Isra el's strengt h, weaker your peopl e has become and weaker,
a sw immer
whom only dea th bri ngs to land.
THE DAJA:'>I
But I tel l you :
;\[a ny a one of you has had the potent faith,
behind the curt ain of night
; ..; o

has
forc ed dow n
the great tran quilizers life and death.
(Po inting to a ho use wrecked by gunfire)
Not with such weapons alone was the battle fought,
I tel l you :
Batt lefields there are-batt lefield s
whi ch the inven tors of dayl ight murder
ha ve never dreamed of.
Many a prayer
has hung with flaming wings bef ore the canno n's
mouth,
many a prayer
has burned up the night like a sheet of pap er!
Sun, moon, and stars have been arrayed by Israel 's
prayer
along the poten t str ings of faith­
di amonds and carb uncl es
about th e dying throat of her peopl e
0! 0!-
HuNC HBACK
They say,
because of my jerking shoulders
they hate me-
KNIFE GRINDER
They say,
because of my perpetua l smile
they hate me-
MENDEL They say,
because of this heap of stone

which
was once my house
they hate me-
BEGGAR with a fea ther in his hat
\Vhen I tu rn the hat over
it's a grave for money,
or I put it on,
and it's something
which has to do with flying.
What are riches in a Je w
but an ice pit around a froze n tea r!-
THE DAJAN
I see,
see the beginning of your jerking shoulders, Simon­
when with Abraham you dug the well of the "Seven
Oaths"
in Beershe ha­
l see,
I see the beginning of your smile, Aman­
on Horeb plant ed in the seventy elders,
to spro ut again
s pr out in the wandering dust of the lip .
Stones are ston es-
Earth of Paradise in them, but in gTeed destroyed.
But they do not know the beginni ng,
not the eternal beginni ng-
and that's why they hate us-
ALL THE BYSTANDE RS
That's why they hate us-

THE
DAJAN (shout ing)
El i, because of you ,
to kno w your beginni ng-
(He collapses)
Curtai n
SCENE EIGHT
The same. THE WoRSHIPP ERS have disappeared into th�
pr ayer tent. Murmur s are heard, then the voice of the
RABBI pronoun cing the Shopha r lin es
VO ICE OF THE RABBI
Tekia -
A long note is he ard, of a single pitch
VOICE Shevarim-
Th ree notes in succession
VOICE Terua -
A trill ed not e
The shadow of the seve n-br anched cand lestick is
sil houetted on the tent wall. The tent is opened. The
wor shippers maTch out
343

FIRST
WORSHIPPER
The air is ne w-
go ne is the sme ll of burn ing,
go ne is the smell of blood,
go ne is the smel l of smoke­
the air is new !
SECOND WORSHIPPER
In my ear there's a noise
as if someone were pulling
the barb from the wound-
the barb that is sticking in the middl e of the earth­
Someone takes the two halves of the earth apart
li ke an apple,
the two halv es of today and yesterday­
takes out the maggot
and joins the casing together again.
THE WoRSH IPPERS mar ch across the marketpl ace
SEVER AL WOR SHIPPE RS
Ha ppy New Year !
Ma y the mom ent when He forsook us
be at an end !
OT HERS JOINING THEM
OT HERS And
Israel emptied forth its soul for death -
The horn has sounded to call us home.
He did not f�rget us.
On the palm s �O b�bS hands en graved
h as He His peo ple!
3 44

Ever
yone has gone off, the marketpl ace is empty.
AN Ow WoMAN comes and sits on the edge of the
fo un tain
Ow WoMAN
RA BBI Is
n't he com ing yet, the "\Vabbi?
Still not here yet, the "\VSS9-
(Sh e ge ts up and goes to meet him, weeping )
The re comes the "\Vb bi!
A cake I baked
in the oven out there in the fields­
the othe r women said :
That 's a fine cak e you've baked,
your holiday cake. I said,
It's for the "\Vb bi, the cake.
I took three measures of flour,
as Sarah did when she baked for the angel s,
the angels
when they came to Abraham at eveni ng-
The re's nothing in the scripture
about their coming at even ing-
OL D WOMAN
RABBI Alwa
ys the angels come at evening.
And the water at the spring
has a mouth that sp eaks.
Why are you crying, Grandma?
345

OL
D WOMAN
RABBI Ha
ve I not a right to cry?
The rats have eaten the cake,
the cake for the Rabb i.
Ne w flour will be given you
and we'll eat the cake together-
OL D WOMAN
RABBI Can
't bake any more,
ca n't eat any more,
can only weep.
(W eeping more vio lently)
Do you live in the house with the old peopl e,
Grandma?
OL D WO MAN
RABBI I
li ve in the third cellar
on the marke tplace.
Why don't you live with the old peopl e?
OL D "''OM AN
Because I must live
there where I live.
Yehudi was born there,
Nat el was born there,
Taube! was born there­
their cry is still in the pla ce ,

and
Tau bel's dance is in th e place­
Mi chael gave me a pa�iu of shoes
because the grave-earth had entered into the old onesgu
Ye hudi's earth,
Taubel 's ear th,
N a tel's earth .
They're shoes from Rabb i Sas sow,
they're Tsaddick shoes,
hol y shoes , holy dancing shoes.
(S he laces them up tigh ter)
Tau bel's dancing is in them.
Look !
(S he begins to dance)
Cu rtain
SCENE NINE
Marketpl ace at the foun tain. THE GIRLS fill the jugs
and hand them to the dust y br ick layers as the y pass)
bu ilding the new town
BRIC KLAYER (to a girl)
Thanks for the drink,
GIRL I
am going now to build the new town.
C emen t this in too.
It's got the Holy Words in it,
given to me by my love,
and I wor e them on this chain about my neck.
347

BRICKL
AYER
GIRL Ho
w can one part with such a gift?
Short my life will be,
but the walls,
they must hold.
SECOND BRICKLAYER (to ano ther girl)
Let us wed in spri ng,
for it is writt en:
Ma rry in wint er
whil e the chrysalis lives on its dreams,
and your dream will shatter
be fore spring comes.
But when it flies,
then God hims elf wil l open brooks and buds -
THIRD BRICKLAYER (drin king thirstil y)
Al ways Israel was thirsty.
What peopl e can ever have drunk at so many springs?
But now, thirst upon thir st,
all deserts together have worked at this our thirst.
A CAR PENT ER with a door passes across the stage. THE BEGGAR
with the feathe r in his hat enters
BE GGAR
That is a door.
A dour i s a knif e
and parts the worl d in two halves.
If I stand in front and knock on i t
beca use I'm a beggar,
then perh aps it'll be opened to me

and
the smell of roast meat
and the smell of soaked clothes stream out.
It is th e smel l of hu man homes.
H e who has a fine beggar 's nose
can smell tears too
or built -in well-bei ng.
But the housewif e says :
"No , it's too earl y in the day, "
and "No" says the closin g door.
At the next door I come too late,
all I get is a gl impse I
of a bed thrown open,
and the door shuts,
sad as an evening blessing.
Carp enter, hang no doors,
they are the knives
which cut the world apart.
CARPEN TER
Man, colle ct your feathe r wits,
doors are for the cold and for burgl ars.
And since cold too is a bu rgl ar,
th ing s are righ t as they are.
BEGGAR (going up to the door and knocki ng)
He re is Isra el, door of th e wo rld,
Do or of the world, open !
CARPE NTER
It is well made,
it does not move,
but behind it,
the swallo ws mig rate.
349

BE
GGAR (throwing him self on the sand be fore the door)
The re 's your threshol d!
TROOP OF YOUNG BRICKLA YERS
We build, we build
the new town, the new town,
the new town !
We bake, we bake
the bricks of the new town !
THE DAJAN
And Abraham raised his hovel
aga in and again
and set it in direction toward Him.
FIRST BRICKL AYER
Mo ses baked bricks,
D av id baked bricks,
n ow we bake br icks,
w e the surviv ors!
His thorn bush in the desert
are we, we, we!
SECON D BRI CKLAYER
We bake !
and this here i s ou r candl e!
(He stamps the earth with his foot)
THIRD BRICKLAYE R
'Ve have new miracl es!
Our desert too had quail s and manna,
for a time I lived on snow ,
ate clouds and sky-
3 5°

CARI'J
•:NTER
What do you say to the secret of a potato peeling
washe d up at my feet by the Hood of hat e?
'T hat was my Ark.
If I now say "God,"
you know where the strength comes from.
GAR DEN Jo:R with an appl e tree
For a new Adam,
for a new Eve .
ALL (sing ing)
We hake, we bake,
to build the new house-
Tm :DAJA N
I f ear you don't trench deep enoug h,
th ose found ations will on ly bear the easy going.
(Dr inki ng at the foun tain)
The new Pentateuch, I te ll yo u, the new Pentateuch
is wri tten in mil dew, the mildew of fear
on the walls of the death cellars.
FJRs T BJuCKI .AYER
Ang uis h of worms on the fishho ok,
an gu ish of fish over the worm,
An gui sh of beetl es und er my foot­
CJH mgh of the graved igger's spade !
(T o THE lhJAN)
Save your hay of memories for next win ter-
he re is fre sh !,'Tass.
J5 I

(He
wreathe s a girl with grasses)
Dust worshippers we are.
As long as the dust bears such fruit,
so long will we grub in its furrows
and make paradises of dust
with the apples
which like grim foreboding s smell of dep arture-
GARDENER with apple tree
This comes from the alien ea rth.
The patriarchal dust is missing,
has nourished the holy citron-
R achel of the well-deep eyes nourished it­
David, the shephe rd of lambs.
My fing ers crook themselves,
to si nk its roots in alie n earth-
fi RST BRICKL AYER
P erh aps the air will turn
int o a new plant habit at,
in virtue of new inven tions­
ci tron in the air,
home in the air.
ALL (singing )
\Ve bake, we bake-
THE DAJAN (to himsel f)
I sa w one who gnawed his own flesh
fi l ling hims elf out to one side like the moon
a nd thinn ing down toward the other world­
! saw a child smile
3- ,..,
)-

before
it was thrown on to the flames­
Where is that now?
My God, where is that now?
Cur tain
ScENE TEN
Coun try road. Uprooted or burned trees on either side.
Fie lds churned up by warfare. Rank weeds flow ering
over them. KNIFE GRINDE R and PEDDLER MENDEL walking
to ge ther, the latte r with his stock on a hand cart
KNIFE GRINDER (pointi ng back along the road)
They're all on edge a hit there, Brother Mendel.
MENDEL He who sits i n the dark
li gh ts hi ms elf a dream­
H e who loses his bride
embraces the air-
He whose garment was touched by death
so that he cried out
has thoughts eating at him like worms­
A good thing I had hidden my stock
un der the stonework.
Bus iness wasn't bad today-
KNIFE GRINDER
Wha t did that man mean
when he picked out the one whose shoulder jerks
and you others?
353

MENDEL
How sho uld I know?
Once I saw a dowser,
his wand jumped up
whene ver a spri ng was found.
So the Dajan seeks everywhere
the spring of hate
which was given Israel to drin k.
But even though I knew better than I do,
you from anothe r tr ibe,
how could I expl ain it to you?
KNIFE GRINDER
Br othe r, why do you speak such words!
When we lay in the hayloft,
in the Pole Yarislav's hayloft,
then we were both one!
Eyes only, to espy the enemy,
ears only, to listen for creak ing step s­
hair on the head
to rise to heaven in damp terror­
there came to us one sleep,
one hung er, one awakening,
came the yellow-eyed owl
who collect s twig s
when she smel ls dea th­
lo oked into the loft windo w,
cried out like a hang man's daughter,
if he had had one:
Tu woo !
MENDEL You mad e a gur eZing sound in your dream
li ke a dro wnin g man-
354

KNIFE
GRINDER
You spoke much about a light
that had set fire to your stock-
MENDEL Do you hear the crickets, Brother?
KNIFE GRINDER
No.
MENDEL Pity.
lt is the brig htest sound in this world,
not every ear can catch it.
But did you see one?
KNIF E GRI NDER
No -
MENDEL Worse the p�ty.
They sit wh ere the invisible begins.
They're beggars already at the gates of Paradise,
said Grandmother to us child ren.
But once a cric ket was sitting
on a roll of rose- pink satin ribbon-
KNIFE GRINDER (to a str ay dog which runs past)
He re, here , comr ade.
Wit h your four paws
y ou can accompany my two.
If Me ndel has his crick et,
I'll have my dog.
When I gr ind, he'll bark-
355

Th
ere'll be two for the wind to stroke,
two to hu nger and stand outside,
with the earth under our paws.
When sun, moon, and stars enter his pupils­
and a whol e world too.
0 you warm , wal king grain of earth
with two mirrors-
AN OLD BE GGAR MAN comes to meet them
MENDEL Who are you, Grandpa?
OL D MAN
I am not nor am I Grand pa!
MENDEL You are not, yet you speak !
Whe re do you come from?
OLD MAN (po inting to the grinding wheel )
Are you a kn ife grinder?
KNIFE �2INDER
Yes.
OL D MAN
So you know the truth.
KNIFE �2] qE R
\Vhy do you answer as in a questi on game?
OL D MAN
For the reason that there's fire in the sto n e,
and therefore life,

and
in the knif e dea th-
Th erefore day by day you grind life wit h death.
That's where I come from.
KfiH=A GRINDER
Al ive out of death?
OL DMAN
From there where the murderers sowed my peopl e in
the earth .
0 ma y it s seed be full of stars !
KNIFE GRINDER
By you?
OL DMAN
I was only half sown,
lying already in the grave,
knew already how the warm th leaves the flesh­
ho w motion leaves the bones -
he ard already the languag e of the bones when
cor ruption sets in-
la ngua ge of the bl ood when it cong eals­
lang uage of the dust
striving anew after love-
KNIFE GRINDER
But how were you saved?
M ENDEL
Had you a ring,
a fine pearl to sell,
paid for your life with a secre t gl int?
357

OL
D MAN
You wretched sacks,
stuff ed with questio ns and quarrel ing.
What do you know of it,
when the bodies become empty
wh ispering like sea shel ls,
oh, when they rise on the whi te-flecked waves
of et erni ty?
KNIFE �2INDER
But tell us, how were you saved?
OLD MAN
We had fled,
Ams chel, brown Yehudi, and I.
Three nations were taken captive
three lang uages taken captive,
hands taken captive
to be made to dig their own graves,
to grasp their own death.
Bodies were slaughtered
and the remains poured out on the ground.
Ho w many thousands of mill ions of mile s of anguish
from HIM!
MENDEL and KNIFE GRINDER
But you, you?
OL D MAN
The soldie r
who filled in the earth over us
and buried us-
bl essing s be on him-
he saw by the lantern light,

for it
was night,
that they had not slaug htered me en oug h
and that my eyes were openi ng-
and he fetched me out
and hid me-
KNa 'E GRINDER
Very hard to bel ieve.
MENDEL There's no tell ing,
speak on.
OL D MAN
The soldier that morn ing ­
so he told me later-
had had a let ter from his mother.
Bl essing s be on her!
For that reason he was not intoxicated like the rest
and saw the blinking of my eyes.
The mother wrote:
"R eally I meant to put this letter wit h the socks,
the home- knitted ones.
But my longing gave me no peace- "
bles sing s be on it!
"And I am writing today
wit hou t waiting till they are finish ed.
But your suit, the blue one,
has been brushed and hung out to air
because of the moth powder.
So it won 't smell of it
when yo u come ."
But it didn 't happen
359

that
she was able to post the let ter at once,
for she fell ill during the night.
And a ne ighbor came-
bl essi ngs be on her!-
asked how she was-
but really all she wanted was an onion­
a sm all one to cook with her potatoes,
for her own were fin ished.
Ah, that she ate potatoes
and not turn ips-
Bl essed be all onions !-
and she was given an onion
and took the letter to the post
and the soldier got it on that morn ing
and did not get intoxicated like the others­
and saw the blinking of my eyes-
KNIFE GRINDER
Ho w many onionskins came together there
to save you!
And what more will sprout
from your onion luck?
OL D MAN
I'm going to the Rabb i in the grave town.
My body will hold out no longer,
sand has touc hed the sand-
yet now it is the one death I die,
the othe r, which resides in a hang man's hand muscle s
like a skel eton key in the burgl ar's fist,
that I do n't need any more,
I ha ve the righ t key!
J6 0

KNIFE
GRINDE R an d MENDEL resume their walki ng
MENDEL I am pleased, I am pl eased !
KNIF E GRIN DER
Wha t pl eases you, Brother?
ME NDEL
I am pleased
that I gave Michael a pair of laces
for his wal king shoes.
If he reaches Paradise
he'll have my lace s on his feet.
The death-shirt of Eli too was of my linen-
KNIF E GR IND ER
Why was it good,
that you gave the shoemaker the laces,
and why should he die,
yo un g as h e is?
MENDEL (as if telling him a se cre t)
I do n't know,
but good it is in any case.
He may be one of the Thirty-six
on whose deeds the world res ts-
o n e who follows the cour se of the waters
and h ears the turning of the earth-
one for whom the vein behind the ear
which for us throbs only in the hou r of death
throbs every day,
one who wears Isra el 's walking shoe s to the end-

KNIFE
GRINDER (to the dog)
He re, then, come,
you look as if you were hungry.
The tongue hangs from your throat,
so you are thirsty too-
We 'll go int o the vill age,
if a tw ig of a stor k's nest is still left of it,
to a farm er,
if a fing ernail of a farm er's still to be found,
look for a sickle,
sharpen it
and cut with it the weeds in the field ­
Perhaps we'll find a pool of water too,
in which death has not yet washed his bloody hands­
and then we'll drink-
(He nods go odbye and walks across the field with the dog)
MENDEL Now it's as bef ore.
Saved, but alone.
Curtain
SCENE ELEVEN
Nigh t. A wood. An invi sible ligh t sour ce illum inates
a fa llen chimne y and some trees with twisted branche s.
MIC HAEL in his wan dering stops and listens
VOICE FROM THE CHIMNEY
We stones were the last thin gs to touch Israel's sorrow.
Je rem iah's body in smoke,
Job's body in smoke ,
]6 2

the
Lament ations in smoke,
whimpering of little child ren in smoke,
mot hers' crad le song s in smoke,
Isr ael's way of fre edom in smo ke-
VOICE OF A STAR
TREE I
was the chimne y sweep­
my light turned black-
I am a tree.
I can no longer stand straight.
It hung on me and swung
as though all the wor ld's winds hung and swung
on me.
SECOND TREE
Blood pressed on to my roots-
All the birds which nested in my crown
had bloody nests.
Every evening I bleed afresh­
My roots climb from their grave-
FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND
We filled the last minu tes with death.
Grew ripe like appl es from the heavy tread of men­
the mothe rs who touched us we re in a hu rry,
but the children were as light as spring rains-
VOICE OF THE NIGH T
Here are their last sighs,
I kept them for you,
feel them !
Their abode is in the never aging breezes -

in the
breath ing of those to come,
inconceivable in the sadness of night -
Whil e Mi cHAEL listens, there is see n, scarce ly
disti nguisha ble fmm the tree mo ts, A CREATURE sitting
on the ground , sewing at a whi te prayer shawl.
Ne ar him a dea th's he ad in the grass
CR EATU RE
Mic hael !
MIC HAEL (approach ing)
Hi rsch the tailo r
in his lifetime looked like that.
You have perishable company with you-
CR EATU RE
Hi rsch am I, the tailor, and my neig hbor there
was someon e's wif e, perha ps my own-
I do n't know-for altho ugh, there,
(He poin ts to the CHIM NEY)
I was empl oyed as Death,
once over the fron tier it is har d to find anything again.
One minut e past midnight
eve ryth ing looks the same-
But however that may be,
if I'd listened to my blessed wife
I'd be sitting with the living in Ame rica,
among whom I have a broth er-
not here a mong my like.
Lo ok, she said
whe n it all beg an,
You're a stag, Hirsch, a stag ,

so
you must scent it co m� u
or hasn 't the Jewish peopl e
a nose for what's in stor e?-
the knives are stirring in the drawer,
the scissors of the great tailor are grating,
and the fire in the stove is form ing grisly faces
as in the Wit ch of En dor's cave-
But above all, I fe el glanc es,
glance s sq uin ting like the cat's-
Mi chael, Michael-
you they have not touched,
you they have spared .
and you stood up to them everywh ere,
so to speak to windward,
as my one-time customer, the gamekeeper, would
have said,
li ke a game animal
whic h has lost its scent­
but me they brought to bay
be cause of my protru ding cheekbo nes
and also because of my legs .
Deat h, you have two sickle blades,
they said,
it's quicker that way.
Unl ess you send your people up in smok e,
unl ess you burn your own flesh and blood
we'll unscrew your pelvis
and remove your two sickle bl ades.
An d then you'll have better food
than all of us toge ther.
Smoke weighs more hea vily in the stomach than
bread-

(He
lays the pray er shaw l aside. Pointing to the d
he ad)
It is too dark, that one there
doesn 't shine any more­
And I burned them
and I ate smoke ,
and I stoked HIM into the fire.
And I ran into the wood
and there stood raspberry canes,
and I ate raspber ries
af ter I had stoked HIM into the fire,
and I could not die,
because I am Death
but look there-
(Sh outi ng)
lo ok there-
CHIMNEY I am the Camp Commandan t.
March, march
go the thoughts out of my head !
Smoke begin s to rise and trans form itself into
tr anspar ent shapes. Moon and stars shed a bl ack
l ig h t. The tree roots are co rp ses with twisted limbs.
THE CREA TURE ge ts up and throws the pm yer shaw l
hi gh into the smoke
A �4Z RA FoRM wraps itse lf in it and rises singing into the sk y
He ar, 0 Isr ael .
He our God,
He the One-
;6 6

THE
CHIMNEY crumb les
THE CREATURE is struck, dyi ng
He ar, 0 Israel
He our God,
He the One-
FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND
Come gathering, gathe ring , Mi chael ,
a time is th ere again,
a time which had run out-­
ga ther it up-
gather it up-
MICHAEL stoops, walki ng in the footprin ts
MIC HAEL
He who goes gath ering death momen ts
ne eds not a ba sket, but a heart to fill-
Cu rta in
ScENE TwELVE
Fron tier of the neighboring coun try. Hea th and moorl and
MICHAEL All signpost s po int downward.
Foxgl oves grow here-
no, not gloves but fingers
grow here like weeds,
not like those flow ers
wit h whic h Mi riam filled her little shoe

when
she broke the strap:
"The gloved fingers will stroke you," she said,
"as you sew i t up. "
T he fing ers which grow here
are fingers of men's hands.
V OI CES OF THE FINGERS
We are the fingers of the killers.
Each one wea rs a pre medi tated death
li ke a false moons tone.
Look , Mi chael , li ke this-
A FINGER (reaching for MIC HAEL's throa t)
My finger 's spe cial ity was strangl ing,
the compress ion of the windpipe
wit h a sl ight turn to the right.
(Gur gling noise)
MICHAEL has sunk to the ground
VOICE OF THE SECOND KILLER
Your knees, Michael ,
your wrists-
do you hear, of glass­
ever ythin g is fragi le on earth.
A good man's not afraid of dust,
and here 's a wi negl assful of blood-
MICHAEL Great death, great deat h, come-
VoiCE OF THE Sr:coNo KILLER
That's out of fashion.
He re are the sma ll dain ty deaths ­
your neck-
j ust there whe re the hair gets downy-
]6 8

VoiCE
oF THE THIRD KI LLER
In the name of Sci ence ­
this injection-
Whoever volunteers turns light-col ored
like rotten wood-
LO NG BONY FINGER
Don't be afra id.
I wan t neit her to bid good night to your windpipe
nor to be roug h to your joints.
I'm only the professorial finger
of the new wisdom.
I want a litt le conversa tion with your gray matter-
MI CHAEL
Away-
VoiCE oF THE PROFEss oRIAL FINGER
Job is grown weak,
tired organ -grinder of a on ce-f resh tune.
The seas have been drawn out into ho rsepower
on one hand
and into tap water on the other.
Their ebb and flow are in the hands of a
moon- man.
Mi chael the shoemaker
sews sole and uppers together
wit h his waste -produ ct thread­
Shoemaker saint!
Were the foun tain pens asleep among you
whic h should have bought your peopl e free?
VoiCE oF THE WILDLY GESTICULATING FINGER
I am the conductor 's fin ger.
I cond ucted the music for their good nigh t.
;6 g

March
music is he ard
Old the world had to become
bef ore the hate
which bloodily sough t
to solv e the J ew puzzl e
hit on the n otion
of ban ishing it from the worl d with music-
The music become s we aker. THE FINGERS , held by a
gian t fin ger on string s, da nce thei r res pecti ve activit ies.
THE PROFESSORI AL FINGER taps MICHAEL on the head. The
Earth falls like a bl ack apple
MICH AEL (shouting )
Is that star lost?
E cH o
Lost!
MICHAEL's VoicE
Hear me
Curtain
ScENE THIRTEEN
Op en field. MICHAEL lying on the ground , gets up.
A FARMER with a cow on a halter approache s
MIC HAEL
The fingers last pointe d in this direction ,
mu rderers betray the murderer in the end.
How peacef u l in dayl ight this spot lo oks.
The cricket s si ng,

a
ja y ca lls its mate.
The cow has the primev al face
of a creature just stroked by its Crea tor's hand.
As everywhere , th e farmer is tasting out the
sec ret of the wheat grain.
(T o the FARMER)
A good evening to you,
would there be a shoemaker's in this
neighb orhood?
FARMER You come from over there, across the front ier?
Yo u'v e death on your brow-
MI CHAEL
How can you tell?
FARMER When a man has som ething shining bet ween
the eyes,
big as a sn owflake-
MICHAEL Maybe
tha t the death of my peopl e shines in me.
FARMER A Pole are you or even-a Jew?
MICHAEL On this earth I am both.
J7I

FARMER
That is much !
Th ere beyond the big meadow
is the way to the village.
Ne xt door to the inn garden
is the shoemaker 's shop.
A CHIL D has joined them. MICHAEL pulls out his
sheph erd's pipe and plays
CHIL D
If I'd a pipe like that
I' d be piping day and night,
I' d be piping in my sleep-
MI CHAEL
It's from a dead child-
FARMER (repeating)
From a dead child-
MIC HAEL
From a boy
who was murdered-
FARMER Who was mur dered -
MICHAEL As his parents were being driven to thei r death
he ran after in his s hirt-
FAR MER
After in his shirt-
3 ,.. ,., J-

MICHAEL On this pipe he piped to God for help-
FARMER Piped to God for help-
MICHAEL Then a sol die r st ruck him dead-
FA RME R
Then a soldier struck him dead -
MIC HAEL plays his pipe. Children, calves, sheep, and
foa ls come frisking to it. THE MoTHE RS lift up their
bab ies. Some MEN, sickle in hand , lowe r the ir he ad s
Curtai n
ScENE FouRTEEN
House of the village schoolte acher. In the garden stan d
the ScHOOL TEACHER and his SoN looki ng up into the
great linden tree. B ovs are practic ing stone -thr ow ing at a
scar ecrow , mad e of old bits of war gear and metal parts,
in the plowed field
Bo Y (after throwing)
CHIL D That
sounded as if someone had cried out.
Yes, it was Isidor the peddl er's voice
as we drove him out of the vil lage.
Oy, he said, oy,
and there he lay in the ditch.
373

BoY
And reached out for his cap,
look, like this, with his hand turned inward,
ju st as he used to do when weighing things­
and Hans called out :
"H as the even ing sun caught your cap?"
and gave him another to remember us by-
ScHOOLTEACHER
BoY There
hangs the bee swarm.
Hark to the music it makes.
The re'll be honey,
ne ver has the linden tree flowered so wel l,
what luck
that it was spared by men 's wars.
How nice it smel ls here, Father, 0!
And then the honey on our bread, 0!
M oTHE R (from the house)
I'll just pick the lettuce
and chop the cherv il for the soup,
dinner will soon be ready.
Why don't you get out your butterfly net, Hans?
Look at all those moths on the thyme-
BoY (picking up a stone )
Just a minut e!
ScHOOL TEACHE R
Leave the scarecrow alone,
too much corpse smell in the field,
the crm\ 'S ge t more and more-
37 -1

Boy
(poin ting at MI CHAEL)
No , there I'll throw it.
ScHOOL TEACHER
Do n't do that!
BoY Why yesterday and not today?
ScHO OLT EACHE R
Alth ough I teach arithmeti c,
that' s a mathema tical puzzle I ca n't solve -
MI CHAEL walks past
Bo Y (to hi mself)
Yes terday I'd have sent the ston e after him,
it'd have fallen near the manure pit, I expect,
after first tripping two feet.
Today it stays in my hand,
but I'll throw it into the pond,
to give some thing a frigh t at lea st-
Curtai n
SC ENE FIFTEEN
Shoemake r's shup in fronti er vil lage
SH OEMA KER
No, not like that, no trul y!
Only -perhaps you are for us
li ke shoes of former times, of long ago.
375

They
fitted nob ody,
good leathe r, but unsuit ed­
not for our climate,
for the deserts perhaps,
for the Holy Land perhaps,
for those markets perhaps
where the Isidors hawk their wares differently
from us-
but of course as thi ngs went with you then­
no, that we did n't want-
not like that-
MI CHAEL
Since Abraham wandered forth from Ur
we have spent our effort s
to buil d our house toward HIM
as othe rs build facing the sun-
Tru e , many turned themselves in the opposite
di rection-
Old shephe rds let the star clocks strike unheeded
and slept like Isidor the pawn broker with
cro oked fing ers­
But there was a boy-
Mas ter, the sole cr ies out in my hand,
it reeks of death-
SHOEMAKER May be so,
for a dying steer stretched out its paws
and then-
A MAN enters, hol ding n smal l chil d by the hand
Are my shoes ready?

SHOEMAKER
My assista nt's just working on them-
MI CHAEL
MAN
CHIL D
MAN This sole
can't be patched,
it's torn up the mid dle.
Make me a new sole then-
Father, this is the man
who had the pipe.
Th ere it is on the flower pot.
0 let me play it!
You don't play strange rs' pipes.
CHIL D (aying)
The pipe-
MAN She's crying
because she wants her mother.
She alwa ys want s something :
One day it's the blackbi rd
which used to come for scraps
a nd disappeared,
another it's the old sheep dog
whic h ran across the rails
and was run over -
377

MICH
AEL (a lo ud)
CH ILD
MAN
CHIL D Ever
ything begins with wanting .
Even this here-
(He lets earth from the flower pot trickle through his
hand s)
And these here-
(He points to the hid es fro m whi ch the shoes are cut)
The pipe-
I' ll buy you a pipe.
When you'v e got it,
al l the child ren will follow you
and give you their toys-
No , thi s pipe,
then the cows 'll come and the littl e calves.
THE MAN takes the chil d by the hand , and as the y go out
SHOEMAKER'S WIFE (at the door )
I want somet hing too.
Farmer, when'll you have a roast to spare?
·w ith me it's the mout h
that does the want ing.
What kind of wan t is that?
Cur tain
378

SCENE
SIXTEEN
A farm house bedroom
CHIL D as leep
MAN Teeth every where,
do you hear how it ra ttles?
Hollo w tooth where oats should be.
Bl ack horse clim bing ,
shaking its mane,
and showing its teeth.
The calves drink with their teeth
and fleck the udders with blood-
the rye-s talks bitten off -teeth without rats­
Do you hear it, Wife,
WIFE MAN here
in the room,
there, there!
(S he poin ts to the wall)
Teeth where bricks should be-
Wife, the brickl ayer must to the gallows-
Be quiet now,
the chil d's asleep,
the fever 's very high !
No w it's rattl ing,
the whol e house rattles-
379

(His
teeth chatte r)
CHILD (in a dr eam)
Al l the trees go wal king
all the trees go walking
li ft up their root-feet and walk
when I pip e-
MAN (singing )
All the shades go wal king ,
come, dear hearse- cloth,
cover up the white moon-tooth for me.
Wasn 't i t a milk-too th
which dropped from his mouth with the pipe­
Wife, wife,
the milk has teeth,
teeth-
A kno ck on the win dow
MAN (opening the window)
Who's there?
BAK ER
Bake r Hans.
He re's a sug ar pretzel for little Ann ie.
The iron pretzel ,
my good shop-sign from the Jew baker in Poland,
has turned red.
They 're wh ispe ring alre a dy .
The dead children don't touc h the pretzel crumbs
I scat ter for them into the night,
and drag the mal t away.
La tely they sat like a swarm of wasps
38 0

on
the shop counter.
The squint-eyed child stamped its feet on the wood,
as if to wa rm itself ,
then it climbed bolt up right to the ceiling
and hung there like flypaper.
In the morn ing it fell off.
The flies had eaten it up.
MAN (rattl ing the win dowpane , whi ch is lit up by the moon)
Look, that's how you did with the squ int-
BAKER MAN eyed one­
He re's the pretzel ,
the re's the pretzel ,
till it had ceased to squ int.
No w it's squ inting your day away,
as mine is chewed by the milk -tooth .
The y sa y
you once killed a holy child?
S tuff and nonsense !
Al l child ren are holy.
Pos TMAN (comi ng on)
BAKER Why do you
quarrel for first place in child
mu rder?
So rter of cry- baby parcel s!
Di d no sender
wri te "F rag ile" on them?
J8I

Po
sTMAN
My orders were
to heed the addressee,
not the sender.
DocTOR (coming out of the bedroo m)
Your child-
�& (coming on)
The child is dead !
Cur tain
SCENE SEVENTEEN
Countr y road. On eithe r side , th ick pin e fores t.
MI CHAEL walking. Behind a pine tree, THE MAN is
stan ding
MI CHAEL
A look has pierced msIback,
I am held fast.
The y look at one anothe r
MAN If he hadn 't th rown his head back
I sho uldn't have struck him down,
the milk-tooth wouldn 't have fallen out with
the pipe.
But -that was contrary to Or der­
to throw the head back-
that had to be correc ted.

And where did he pipe to?
A secre t sig nal ?
A signal through the air­
beyond all con trol­
Help, shoemaker,
the mil k-tooth is grow ing out of the earth­
beg inni ng to gnaw at me-
righ t through my shoe-
my feet are crumbl ing-
becoming earth-
(S hr iek ing)
Whe re's the Order in all this, the World Order­
! am alive,
I am not dead­
not hung-
not burn ed-
not thrown live int o the earth- -
(A t the top of his vo ice)
It 's a mistake, a mi stake,
I' m crumb ling, cru mbl ing­
I' m a stump-
si tting on the sand
that a moment ago was my flesh-
The air has opened out into circ les. In the first circle
appears THE EMBRYO in its moth er's womb) with the
primal light on its brow
VOICE Child with the light of God,
read in the hands of the murd erer-

MAN
My hands, my hands-
do n't leave me, 0 my hands-
(His hand s cr umbl e off)
The horizon opens out as the grea test of the circ les.
A BL EEDING MouTH appears like a se tti ng sun
VOICE Open ,
dumb mouth of Samuel !
VoiCE OF SAMUEL
El i!
The moth er's wom b dis solves in smoke. The primal light
fas tens on to MICHAEL's brow
MICHAEL Crumbl ing one!
Hi s ey es become holes-
the light seeks out othe r mi rro rs.
I se e through the holes-
gl asses for the sun's eclipse­
int o your skull
which fr a me s that worl d
which you as command ed have packed inside it,
as in a soldier's knapsack-
The re it lies-tw itching,
an insect star with wings tom off­
In it stirs a hand
that stole a ligh tning bolt-
A raven consumes a hum an leg-

VOICE
lightning
consumes the raven­
I see nothing more-
F ootprint s o f Israel ,
gath er yourse lves togethe r!
Last earth ly moments of Israel,
ga ther yourselves togethe r!
Las t momen ts of suff ering,
gather yourselves together!
MICHAE L
VorcE Under
my feet it ju mps up.
From my hands it pl unges down .
My heart pours some thing out-
Yo ur shoes are worn to pieces -come!
MI CHAEL is ga thered up and vanishe s
Fi nal Curtain

Po
stscript to ELI
This mystery play has as its leading figure Michael , a
yo ung shoemaker. In Has sidic mysticis m he is one of the
sec ret Serv ants of God who, thirty-six in numb er (and quite
un aware of it th emsel ves) , carry the invi sible universe .
Accor ding to the proph et Isaiah , the Lord puts the arrow he
has used back in its quiv er so that it may remain in darkn ess.
Thus Michael feels, darkly , the inner call to seek the
murd erer of the child Eli, the child who raised to heaven
the shepherd's pipe with which he used to call the cattle
toge ther-"l ike the stag or roebuck before it drinks at the
sp ring"-to pipe to God, as his paren ts were being taken
away to their death. A young soldie r, bel ieving this to be
a secre t sig nal (sym bol of unb elief ) , struck the boy dead.
Mi chael goes his quiet way throug h this lege nd made of
truth, sees in the shadow thrown by a light on Eli's death
shirt the face of the murderer, and in transcen dental fashio n
experiences once more durin g his travel s the bloody events
of our forsa ken age. The murderer, when Michael finally
sees him face to face, cru mble s to dust before the divine light
s hini ng from Michael 's cou nten ance (picture of remorse) .
In this worl d of night, where a secret equilib rium seems
to reig n, the vict im is alw ays inno cence. The child Eli and
the child of the murderer both die, victims of evil.
This myster y pla y was the outcome of a ter rible experience
of the Hitle r time at the height of its smoke and flame, and
was writwwd down in a few nights after my flight to Sweden.
;8 6

The
shephe rd's pipe raised in despe ratio n by a child to
God-a ttempted outbre ak of the human in the face of horror.
The soldier: "If he hadn 't thrown his head back, I
shouldn 't have struck him down ... "
That was a sign beyond all cont rol-c ould be a secre t
si gnal .
No more trust in good on earth .
Wr itten in a rhythm which must make the Hass�Ue u
mystical fervor visibl e als o in mi me to the performer -the
encounter with the divine radiance which accompan ies each
of our everyday words. Al ways des�iflVu to ra�gnu the
unutt erable to a transce ndental level, so as to make it
be arabl e and in this nigh t of nights to give a hi n t of the
holy darkness in which quiver and arrow are hidden .
X