The Angel of History [In April, the lilacs come, wrapped in Le Monde] (audio only)
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J’ai rapporté du désespoir un panier si petit mon amour, qu’on a pu le tresser en osier.
I brought from despair a basket so small, my love, that it might have been woven of willow.
to speak is not yet to have spoken.
the not-yet of a white realm of nothing left
In this archipelago of thought a fog descends, horns of ships to unseen ships, a year
passing overhead, the cry of a year not knowing where, someone in the aftermath
who once you knew, the one you were, a little frisson of recognition,
then just like that—gone, and no one for hours, a sound you thought you heard
And so we stayed, night after night awake
until the moon fell behind the blackened cypress,
and bats returned to their caverns having gorged
on the night air, and all remained still until the hour
of rising, when the headless woman was no longer seen
nor a ghostly drum heard, nor anyone taking