Excerpts from Paul Celan, ‘microliths’
Translated by Pierre Joris
16 He who transforms himself wants, being the same, to become someone else.
Shape = semblance
17 There is no such thing as the Ibolithic, you say! Well, where would we wind up if we agreed with that? For then the Lithic wouldn’t exist either, the basic Lithic, this idiom worked up with such great pains. And Paleo, Mezzo and Neo, so excellent, they too would then be as if extinguished — and — do I dare ask — where in this case would we be at? We, so proud to have managed to put the ice age behind us… Why, I heard it asked — and I hear resentment roiling in that question, yes indeed, resentment! —, Why? Was that necessary? We stand pretty now, we, those of today… Gone, our past, gone… And our future? Our future-bearing future? I’m asking, I’m not answering. Let the others, the anti-iboliths, answers. But, isn’t it so, Rumpelstiltskin, we two, you and I, we want into the Open once again, into the forest, and crossing the swath that leads to the nuclear reactor, and where the honeysuckle, so beguiling, rambles, we, despite the danger of falling into discredit, even here, we want to sing
18 Verbier, 6.25.57.
18.1 We were one flesh with the night.
18.2 In the gaze you throw at it, the looked at awakens.
Poems are passageways. A toi de passer, Vie! [Your turn to pass through, Life!]
20 A paradise was indeed promised us, but to no one among us, not even to the fiercest believers, a vehicle with tail flukes, so as not to remain unnoticed on the roads up there, when the driver chauffeurs us to the confectioner’s.
21 For so much anguish, so much symbolism!
Certain “citizens” and the poem: They buy the surprise bag; one knows vaguely what’s in it, it won’t be much, but then it doesn’t cost much either, and if one happens to visit the fair and one has enjoyed the lady without lower- but with upper body, one’s amusement also demands this. And when what’s in it turns out — but here too the buyer’s superior humor can prove itself — to be even cheaper than cheap, there still remains the fun that all of that was “too.”
…. and sounded off against his God.
Yeats: I certainly owe more to that poet than to Fr. surreal.
Strange. In front of a candle
It is part of poetry’s essential features that it releases the poet, its crown witness and confidant, from their shared knowledge once it has taken on form. (If it were different, there would barely be a poet who could take on the responsibility of having written more than one poem.)
—Poetry as event
–in each first word of a poem the whole of language gathers itself —
Beginning: “Poetry as handiwork”? The handmade crafting of poetry?
____________ [These are Celan’s first notes toward the conference project “On the Darkness of Poetry” which remained unfinished.] Pjoris 240 240.1 || Mysticism as wordlessness Poetry as form 241.2 The poem is inscribed as the figure of the whole language; but language remains invisible; what is actualizing itself — language — steps, as soon as it has happened, back into the realm of the possible.“Le poème,” writes Valéry, “est du langage à l’état naissant;” /“Poetry,” writes Valéry, “is language in the state of being born;”/ Language in statu nascendi, thus, language freeing itself. 241 241.1 Yesyes, not only the Geiger-, the “syllable-counters ” too, though despised by a literature that calls itself engaged, register something. ———————————— ↑ → 241.2 aesthesis is not enough; the… ;noesis is not enough; … ; what’s needed is personal presence, what’s needed is conversation; conversation and entertainment are different things; conversations are demanding, straining. 241.3 ——–——– Idea of the bracket (voicedness) syncope also the this vibrato of the words has se- mantic relevance 241.4 ______ The poet: always in partibus infidelium 241.5 ______ Das Kampaner Tal, p. 51, footnote: ↓ ||... “as on the Jews’ houses (in memory of ruined Jerusalem), something always has to be left unfinished.” to remember in the poem — remembrance as absence — 241.6 Language planes || Nationallibr.: Bühler — 241.7 ______ No syllogistic enriched with this or that theory of association, no logistic will ever be able to do justice to the fact of “poem” — the alleged thought- or language-scheme of the poem is never “finished.” ______ 241.8 syntactic (and other!) bracketings ______ 241.9 Oppositeness? ______ 241.10 Multivocity ______ 241.11 139. Psalm: nox illuminatio mea ... darkness is like the light 246 246.1 an uneasiness similar to that in “Lyrik-Dichtung) relation to the word → “Schrifttum / literature” The uneasiness Lyrik (which Heine the progress therein uses…) Tension between Lyrik = Dichtung
§ cf. https://poethead.wordpress.com/2019/02/02/microliths-240-241-by-paul-celan/