‘Sequence after Celan’ by Gillian Prew

Sequence after Celan

1

Spring: trees flying up to their birds 

where the sun is the seeds are freed
their small sound a wound
like death watercoloured and open
           each foliated lung with its breathing understory
                the climb of springtime into the loud light
sky filled with dove-coloured words

2

the climbed evening
is thick with lung-scrub

a nocturne of oxygen    of spring sillage   the raising of the dead and their flowers
the night deer with hooves of heather    the precision of an owl in *rooted darkness
                              in the tangled bramble
                              a knot of blood

3

water needles
stitch up the split
shadow-he fights his way
deeper down, free 

rain wholly itself
a breathing torrent
hitting the half-lit
a million microdazzles     a mouse
    mud-buried 
    a blinking scut
the fluency of a softer death
a spring nothingness
    a heart-smoke

4

in the air, there your root remains, there, in the air 

                up
the sky bitten open
the sun exhumed
        clouds bud and bloom
        with roots of rain


5

All things,
even the heaviest, were
fledged, nothing,
held back.

weeds like wicks ending
             long-edged 
weighted by a bursting yellow
re-bloom and climb
    a white tufted voile
like breath solidifying
    the hung lungs letting go
everything uprooted

*

after

The green gardens are gone. What is left is a grief-bulb. 
It has no smell or sound, just a dormant red. 
So is the air with its salt and silence. 
So is the hunter with his glacial ethics.

Sequence after Celan is © Gillian Prew

Born Stirling, Scotland in 1966, Gillian Prew studied Philosophy at the University of Glasgow from 1984 to 1988. Her chapbook, Disconnections, can be purchased from erbacce-press (2011) and another chapbook, In the Broken Things, published by Virgogray Press (2011). Her collection, Throats Full of Graves, has been published in 2013 by Lapwing Publications. A further collection, A Wound’s Sound, was released from Oneiros Books in April 2014.

Her latest chapbook, Three Colours Grief, was published by erbacce-press in June 2016. She is online at https://gprew.wordpress.com/

She has been twice short-listed for the erbacce-prize and twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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4 thoughts on “‘Sequence after Celan’ by Gillian Prew

  1. Maybe she’s referencing this poem by Celan

    I heard it said by Paul Celan
    (trans. by Pierre Joris)

    I heard it said there was
    a stone in the water and a circle,
    and above the water a word
    that lays the circle around the stone.

    I saw my poplar go down to the water,
    I saw her arm reach down into the depth,
    I saw her roots beg skyward for night.

    I did not run after her,
    I only picked up from the ground the crumb
    that has your eye’s shape and nobility,
    I took the chain of proverbs off your neck
    and with it hemmed the table where the crumb now lay.

    And no longer saw my poplar.

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