YOU TOO SPEAK

by Paul Celan

You too speak:
you speak last,
say your word.

Speak–
but never split No off from Yes.
Give your word a meaning:
give it the shade.

Give it enough shade,
give it as much shade
as you know is parceled around you
between midnight and noon and midnight.

Look around:
how everything comes alive–
In the presence of death! Alive!
whoever speaks shade speaks truth.

Now, though, the shade where you stand is shrinking:
Where now, shade-stripped?
Upward. Grope your way up.
You grow thinner, less perceptible, finer.
Finer: a thread
a star would like to slide down on:
to be able to swim down there
where it observes itself glimmering: in the flow
of drifting words.

 Translated by David Young.

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