In Memory of Paul Éluard

by Paul Celan

Put the words in the dead man’s grave,
the words he spoke in order to live.
Cradle his head among them
let him feel
the tongues of longing,
the tongs.

Put the word on the dead man’s eyelid,
the word he refused to speak
to the one who said “thou” to him,
the word
his heart’s blood rushed past
when a hand bare as his own
knotted the one who said “thou” to him
into the trees of the future.

Put that word on his eyelid:
his eye, still blue,
takes on a second, stranger blue,
a second blue,
and the one who said “thou” to him
dreams with him: we.

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