A Translation of Nelly Sachs

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  • July 20, 2012

Nelly Sachs, a German-Jewish poet who escaped to Sweden in 1940, continues to be well-loved throughout Europe while still barely known in the United States — this, despite the fact that she was a co-recipient (with Israeli author Shmuel Yosef Agnon) of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1966. Sachs wrote about the Holocaust from a unique perspective informed by the traditions of Orthodox Judaism and in particular, the images of mystical Judaism.

Here, especially for the readers of PI Online, is a version of one of Sachs’ poems, done by Shauna Cote:

YOU

Who played with nothing but balls of water
that smashed, soundless, the air.

Yet glimpse of seven lit a vision
shared.

One heartbeat: one
in the space of what? angels

Your fiery enterprise when —
Hush!  a soul went —

Some links to her other poems:

http://thepoetryplace.wordpress.com/2010/06/07/butterfly-by-nelly-sachs/

http://graceandreacchi.blogspot.com/2008/10/nelly-sachs-show-us-sun-slowly.html

http://pippoetry.blogspot.com/2010/12/nelly-sachs-apartment-in-stockholm.html