O Little Root of a Dream

Paul Celan - 1920-1970
O little root of a dream 
you hold me here 
undermined by blood, 
no longer visible to anyone, 
property of death.

Curve a face
that there may be speech, of earth, 
of ardor, of
things with eyes, even
here, where you read me blind,

even 
here, 
where you 
refute me, 
to the letter.

More by Paul Celan

Death Fugue

Black milk of morning we drink you at dusktime
we drink you at noontime and dawntime we drink you at night
we drink and drink
we scoop out a grave in the sky where it’s roomy to lie
There’s a man in this house who cultivates snakes and who writes
who writes when it’s nightfall nach Deutschland your golden hair Margareta 
he writes it and walks from the house and the stars all start flashing he whistles his
     dogs to draw near
whistles his Jews to appear starts us scooping a grave out of sand
he commands us to play for the dance

Black milk of morning we drink you at night
we drink you at dawntime and noontime we drink you at dusktime
we drink and drink
There’s a man in this house who cultivates snakes and who writes
who writes when it’s nightfall nach Deutschland your golden hair Margareta
your ashen hair Shulamite we scoop out a grave in the sky where it’s roomy to lie
He calls jab it deep in the soil you lot there you other men sing and play
he tugs at the sword in his belt he swings it his eyes are blue
jab your spades deeper you men you other men you others play up again for the dance

Black milk of morning we drink you at night
we drink you at noontime and dawntime we drink you at dusktime
we drink and drink
there’s a man in this house your golden hair Margareta
your ashen hair Shulamite he cultivates snakes

He calls play that death thing more sweetly Death is a gang-boss aus Deutschland
he calls scrape that fiddle more darkly then hover like smoke in the air
then scoop out a grave in the clouds where it’s roomy to lie

Black milk of morning we drink you at night
we drink you at noontime Death is a gang-boss aus Deutschland
we drink you at dusktime and dawntime we drink and drink
Death is a gang-boss aus Deutschland his eye is blue
he shoots you with leaden bullets his aim is true
there’s a man in this house your golden hair Margareta
he sets his dogs on our trail he gives us a grave in the sky
he cultivates snakes and he dreams Death is a gang-boss aus Deutschland 

your golden hair Margareta
your ashen hair Shulamite

Fugue of Death

Black milk of daybreak we drink it at nightfall
we drink it at noon in the morning we drink it at night
we drink it and drink it
we are digging a grave in the sky it is ample to lie there
A man in the house he plays with the serpents he writes
he writes when the night falls to Germany your golden
	hair Margarete
he writes it and walks from the house the stars glitter he 
	whistles his dogs up
he whistles his Jews out and orders a grave to be dug in
	the earth
he commands us strike up for the dance

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you in the morning at noon we drink you at
	nightfall
drink you and drink you
A man in the house he plays with the serpents he writes
he writes when the night falls to Germany your golden 
	hair Margarete
Your ashen hair Shulamith we are digging a grave in the
	sky it is
ample to lie there

He shouts stab deeper in earth you there and you others
	you sing and you play
he grabs at the iron in his belt and swings it and blue are 
	his eyes
stab deeper your spades you there and you others play on
	for the dancing

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at nightfall 
we drink you at noon in the mornings we drink you at
	nightfall
drink you and drink you
a man in the house your golden hair Margarete
your ashen hair Shulamith he plays with the serpents

He shouts play sweeter death's music death comes as a
	master from Germany
he shouts stroke darker the strings and as smoke you 
	shall climb to the sky
then you'll have a grave in the clouds it is ample to lie
	there

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at noon death comes as a master from 
	Germany
we drink you at nightfall and morning we drink you and 
	drink you
a master from Germany death comes with eyes that are 
	blue
with a bullet of lead he will hit in the mark he will hit 
	you
a man in the house your golden hair Margarete
he hunts us down with his dogs in the sky he gives us a
	grave
he plays with the serpents and dreams death comes as a 
	master from Germany

your golden hair Margarete
your ashen hair Shulamith.