Poems, Imitations & Translations

Tuesday

Matter of Britain (after Paul Celan)



Gisèle Celan-Lestrange: Etching (1927-1991)

Matter of Britain


Gorselight, yellow, slopes
against the skyThorn
disinfects your woundsRing
out, it’s eveningNothing
crosses the sea to pray
The bloodred sheet sets sail for you

Arid, dried-out, bed
behind youScar-
invadedStar-
embossedmilky inlets
in the vaseDate
stones underneath, furred blue
tufts of forgetfulness
your memory

(Do you know me
hands? I went
by the forked route you showed
me, my mouth spat pebbles, I walked
through snowdrifts, shadow – do you know me?)

Hands, the thorn-
burnt wound rings out
Hands, nothing, the sea
Hands, in the gorse-light
the bloody sheet
sets sail for you

You
you teach
your teach your hands
you teach your hands, you teach
you teach your hands
to sleep


[13/8/57]

(9/3-29/4/10)







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