Paul Celan’s poem “Stretto,” translated by John Felstiner:
* Taken off into the terrain with the unmistakable trace: Grass, written asunder. The stones, white with the grassblades' shadows: Read no more—look! Look no more—go! Go, your hour has no sisters, you are— are at home. Slowly a wheel rolls out of itself, the spokes clamber, clamber on the blackened field, night needs no stars, nowhere are you asked after. * Nowhere are you asked after— The place where they lay, it has a name—it has none. They did not lie there. Something lay between them. They did not see through it. Did not see, no, spoke of words. Not one awoke, sleep came over them. * Came, came. Nowhere asked— I'm the one, I, I lay between you, I was open, was audible, I ticked toward you, your breath obeyed, I am still the one, and you're sleeping. * Am still the one— Years. Years, years, a finger gropes down and up, gropes all around: sutures, palpable, here it gapes wide open, here it grew back together—who covered it up? * Covered it up—who? Came, came. Came a word, came, came through the night, would glisten, would glisten. Ashes. Ashes, ashes. Night. Night-and-night.—Go to the eye, to the moist one. * Go to the eye, to the moist one— Hurricanes. Hurricanes, from all time, particle flurry, the other thing, you know this, we read it in a book, was opinion. Was, was opinion. How did we take hold—hold with these hands? It was also written that. Where? We decked it in silence, poison-hushed, huge a green silence, a sepal, a thought of something plantlike hung there— green, yes, hung, yes, under spiteful skies. Of, yes, plantlike. Yes. Hurricanes, par- ticle flurry, there was still time, still, to try with the stone—it was welcoming, it did not interrupt. How good we had it: Grainy, grainy and stringy. Stalky, thick; bunchy and radiate; knobby, level and lumpy; crumbling, out- branching--: the stone, it did not interrupt, it spoke, spoke gladly to dry eyes, before it shut them. Spoke, spoke. Was, was. We would not let go, stood firm in the midst, a framework of pores, and it came. Came up to us, came on through, it mended invisibly, mended on the final membrane, and the world, thousandfaced crystal, shot out, shot out. * Shot out, shot out. Then— Nights, demixed. Circles, green or blue, red squares: the world sets its inmost at stake with the new hours.--Circles, red or black, bright squares, no flight shadow, no plane table, no chimney soul rises and joins in. * Rises and joins in— At owls' flight, near the petrified lepra, near our fugitive hands, at the latest rejection, above the bullet trap on the ruined wall: visible, once again: the grooves, the choirs, back then, the Psalms. Ho, ho- sannah. Therefore temples still stand. A star may still give light. Nothing, nothing is lost. Ho- sannah. At owls' flight, here, the conversations, daygray, of groundwater traces. * (— —daygray, of groundwater traces— Taken off into the terrain with the unmistakable trace: Grass. Grass, written asunder.)
Felstiner’s 2010 essay “‘Deep in the time-crevasse’: Celan’s Outward and Inward Landscape” is available here.