by Paul Celan
You too speak:
you speak last,
say your word.
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.
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.