Friday, March 16, 2012

Aimless Reading: The S's, Part 1 (Nelly Sachs)

O The Chimneys
Sachs, Nelly
O The Chimneys: Selected Poems, including Eli, a verse play

Purchased online. This is one of those books that, in terms of its significance to me, might rightly be shelved under "Celan." I bought it when I was in a deep Paul Celan phase, having just read the correspondence between the two poets, both holocaust survivors. I don't think I read the poems all that closely, so I can't say I have a very strong sense of them.

from O The Chimneys

What secret cravings of the blood

What secret cravings of the blood,

Dreams of madness and earth
A thousand times murdered,
Brought into being the terrible puppeteer?

Him who foaming at the mouth

Dreadfully swept away
The round, the circling stage of his deed
With the ash-gray, receding horizon of fear?

O the hills of dust, which as though drawn by an evil moon

The murderers enacted:

Arms up and down,
Legs up and down
And the setting sun of Sinai's people
A red carpet under their feet.

Arms up and down,
Legs up and down
And on the ash-gray receding horizon of fear

Gigantic constellation of death
That loomed like the clock face of ages.

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