Friday, March 25, 2016

Celan before the Grunewald Passion


Celan before the Grünewald Passion

(Holy Week, 1970)

The limbs
entwined—
gnarled

as oak. The
blood
flowed--red as

a mother’s,
shed for naught
in the labor

camp.
The ribs
strained—

a father’s—
typhus in its
last exhaled

breath. Our
own passion
awaits us—

weeks
from now
in waters

dark as noon,
silent
and unseen

by anyone
except
someone’s downcast


gaze—
tender
and distant

--Jamie Parsley

Paul Celan (1920-1970) was a Romanian-born German-language Jewish poet. After surviving the death camps, Celan became a well-respected poet in post-war Europe. He committed suicide on April 20, 1970, by drowning himself in the Seine in Paris.   

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