Excerpts from ‘microliths’ by Paul Celan

from ‘Microliths’



also pre­membering, pre­thinking and storing of what could be

Yeats: I certainly owe more to that poet than to Fr. surreal.

Strange. In front of a candle
Now I tried to render visible the grain of sand (Buber, Chass. — //Nibelungens[on]g) that had to have been sunk into me too at some time.
Mother, candles, sabbath
But the poem lead me out of this idea, across to a new level with this idea


162.1 ­

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
Event = truth (“unhiddenness,” worked, fought for unhiddeness)
Poetry as risk
Creation = /power­activity /Gewalt­tätigkeit (Heidegger)
Truth ≠ accuracy (­i­: consistency)

–in each first word of a poem the whole of  language gathers itself —
–handiwork: hand / think through connections
such as “hand and heart”
handiwork — heartwork

Beginning: “Poetry as handiwork”? The handmade crafting of  poetry?

About ‘Microliths’at Jacket2 Magazine
About ‘Microliths’ at Poetry Foundation.

I would like to thank Pierre Joris for his translation of Microliths. These translations are © Pierre Joris 


I heard him
he was washing the world,
unseen, nightlong, real.

One and infinite,

Light was. Salvation.

From  Fathomsuns and Benighted  by Paul Celan (translated by Ian Fairley for Carcanet Books) (1991) 

Paul Celan related texts by Pierre Joris

   Threadsuns by Paul Celan translated by Pierre Joris


The Meridian




Breathturn into Timestead: The Collected Later Poetry: A Bilingual Edition (German Edition) (German) Hardcover – December 2, 2014



Further Reading on Paul Celan

Pierre Joris websites and articles

Celan/ Heidegger: Translation at the mountain of death; on translating “Todtnauberg” by Pierre Joris
On the Translation of Later Poems by Paul Celan by Pierre Joris (Harriet/ Poetry Foundation & blog)
Paul Celan and the Meaning of Language; An Interview with Pierre Joris (Interview; Doug Valentine, Flahpoint Mag)
Celan the aphorist (Nomadics Blog, Pierre Joris) Original article at Jacket2 Magazine
On Poethead: Once, Irish & (Todesfuge translated by John Felstiner).


‘Sonnet From A Derelict House’ and other poems by Daniel Marshall


gulls bathe & fish in temporary rock pools
near the recycling spot in ongpo village. i wonder
if the dead mermaids of old jeju are reincarnate as gulls?
whether they thank the wind for bringing morsels of food to them?
have they returned to the place they liked to forage abalone,
where they taught their children how to recite the poems of the sea
& laced a 1000 soups with shell fish & sea weed?
in the translucent pools objects that don’t belong to the sea
but the sea has made ornate on its potter’s wheel
lie like artifacts waiting to be raised from the dead.
you can hardly recognize shards of green bottles,
broken, budget china plates, the flutes & spouts of blue vases
& their bases with the artists name erased by the currents.
but a saucepan lid, the nipple of its handle.
a rusty tobacco tin with mushed up cigarettes inside.
a bottle of washing up liquid. a cement bag collecting shells & kelp
go unchanged. no matter
the hours the mad sea potter clocks in.


the pacific

we walk 1 km or so,
pass through gangjeong village,
away from where ajummas
who look like permed mussolinis,
gut & flense red porgy & barter
at the pitch of cash registers, on the street corner.
beyond the outskirts
where the abandoned banners of protest
against the construction of a naval base is stationed,
to where the pacific ocean is being itself.
the land emptied. the roads emptied. people emptied.
the ocean here moves the mood to its own way.
& we are moved with it too.
because we are people.

jeju church

the telegraph cables wobble like plucked harp strings.
i follow them to a church: the modem of god.
the fastest router to his love & law.
i doubt they get a decent signal there;
therefore anxiety’s doppleganger cowers behind the plastic pews,
in a church, without nave or apse; persistent
their’s is a church suitable for gaggling wants to god.
the neon crucifix where the lightning rod should be picking petals of dark
to save the air conditioned congregation from the godless element.
the don’t see that the weather is god, their livelihood.
they don’t see out there is all god can be
& the only place he might find comfort from the grind of his silence.


눈 = snow & eye

this blizzard two days deep is an anomaly
: it hasn’t snowed like this for 35 years.
the island’s comatose yet comfortably delivered from
the common arrangements of any old day
: farmers off the hook with needy furrows;
disheartened tourists hop scotch 4 dimensions a-z;
the restaurants full of happy people getting drunk;
biyang island’s buggered off all afternoon,
a graphite smudge in the corner of a child’s sketch.
i feel a perfect ease in this seraglio of snow,
furnished with moving tapestries of conifer & crow.
litters of onion & cabbage, the brown flame
of decay like the edges of old manuscripts
spreading to the whorls & cores.
the harem wenches shaped like soil who swaddled them,
who with familiar cuddles warmed
their spindly legs until the autumn harvest,
look bored without their motherly duties.
there isn’t a soul & if there was
a barrier of snow rushes between us.
flocks of sparrows navigate the drift,
the traffic of currents & pockets of gale
quiff the snow on the ridge ahead.
i hope i never find time to return to the world.

sonnet from a derelict house


the village houses dumb with old age. blind & windowless of their worth.
their pipe-orifices blow off excess steam. asbestos hunkered in their heads.
a few roof tiles absent : old storms popped them off like champagne corks.
cut short like children who are seen but never heard. downcast & diffident.
they mime their rantings at a generation that admires but does not fix.
they had an idiolect arrested by indifference & so they do not croak
objections to invasive mainlanders with café aspirations.
they’ve busied themselves like a mouth chock full of ginseng sweets
so long, they forgot the peal of beauty poking from their grout,
the saturating mold that sticks them together. you’ve not decided you have value yet.
when the aesthetic nuances of apartments lie in tatters: when the weathered marks,
the petroleum foot prints & ichor rust begin to tell on iron bones & fiber glass skin
they’ll hurry back to you with a lick of paint, stucco & warm sibilant love,
their guests will write on post-it notes they are too guilty to compose themselves.

fish lady

the jeju grandma who squats outside the chiropractor
sells gold bream, kelp & mackerel piled in little blue baskets.
the lamppost is her backrest, the pavement is her chair.
her back’s bent like an oreum. she must be in a lot of pain.
most of the day she naps with the fishes. i never saw her sell a thing
& i can’t cook fish in the café : it makes a dreadful stink.

the air in hallim town is thick with salt & brine.
it comes from the sea hidden in netted hauls of jeju cuttlefish
-red freckled tentacles like broken fingers & heads like bone china vases.
her bones are rusty as a trawlers’ nuts & bolts.
her knuckles have been bleached with salt & cold.
she’s wrapped up in a microfiber blanket, she has no gore-tex clothes.

her veins bulge out of tissue flesh, like highways on a map,
the luggage of her grueling years drags under her eyes.
after working seven days a week, outdoors in the fields,
or on the wet street, since she was a teenager,
the elements have buffeted her geography’s shape inside & out.
we can travel her hardships without a compass needle.

there is no son or daughter to help her lug the stock.
she has mothered. be sure of that. suckled & smacked them into citizens.
they’ve been consumed with seoul’s nightly attractions: pork & soju.
disfigured by charts & indexes, the etiquette of the salary man
: the boss says drink! we say how much? the boss says jump! we say from where!
if only she’d not shamed their island roots they’d be less corpulent.

on sunday all the shops & vendors on the street stop trade.
she goes to church & tends the spirit then goes home to tend the soil.
she has a little garden behind her little house beside the sea.
she grows a row of cabbages, spring onions & garlic
: in autumn for the umpteenth time she’ll make kimchi for the year ahead
: the fuel for her to endure one more ring of seasons in the harbour town.

one day, i’ll go to the chiropractor & she won’t be outside
& her fish will not have been caught & birth prodigious shoals.

Daniel Marshall is a poet from England who now lives in Jeju Island, Korea, where he runs a café & guesthouse, which he built with his wife from the soil up. He is an emerging writer who, when he manages his time well, writes & blogs. You can read several of his ongoing projects here & a number of articles he wrote on dream psychology & analysis whilst he lived in the mountains of mainland Korea. Feel free to contact him anytime through his blog:
or at danielpaulmarshall85@gmail.com
Sonnet From A Derelict House and other poems are © Daniel Marshall

“The Willow’s Whisper”; a transatlantic compilation of poetry from Ireland and Native America.

Thank you to Julianne Ní Chonchobhair, who has facilitated this short post with information and articles on the poets.

A note about the editors of  ‘The Willow’s Whisper’

Jill M.O’Mahony is a Lecturer in The Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland. She has previously studied English Literature and Sociology in  The National University of Ireland, Maynooth and The University of  Manchester. She is working on a doctoral research project which focuses  on performance, liminality and event in Native American Poetry. She  lectures in the Sociology of Consumption, Modern Ireland, Narrative  Identities and Communications. Her research interests include Political  Anthropology and Transcultural Literature.

Dr. Mícheál Ó hAodha currently works at the University of Limerick  where he lectures in the Department of History, School of Languages,  Literature, Culture and Communication, UL, Ireland. He has published  widely on many aspects of Irish migration, diaspora, social geography and  oral history – including American“Outsider”: Stories from the Irish  Traveller Diaspora. (2007) (with T.J. Vernon); The Stranger in Ourselves:  Ireland’s “Others” (eds. M.Ó hAodha, University of Limerick; D.  O’Donnell, University of Limerick and C. Power (Centre for Ethnicity and  Health, University of Central Lancashire, UK) (2007). Screening Difference:  Visual Culture and the Nomadic “Other” (with A. Huether and D. Waldron) (2009), Migrancy, Memory and Repossession: Women on the  Historical Margins (2010); His most recent book is “The Turn of the  Hand”: A Memoir from the Irish Margins (with Mary Ward) (2010). Between 2006 and 2008 he was an AHRC scholar in the School of Arts,  Histories and Cultures, University of Manchester. He has also written  fiction and poetry in collaboration with other Irish writers including Colum McCann and Gabriel Rosenstock. His next book is due out shortly  as part of the Re-imagining Ireland series – Peter Lang, Oxford.

I am adding here some release notes for the anthology will be released on the 16th of February 2012.

There is a Nomadics category in this blog, which looks at dispossession, migrancy, rootlessness, outsider poetry and diaspora. I asked Julianne Ní Chonchobhair if I could feature a poem or two from the compilation on this blog,  and she very kindly agreed. In keeping with the theme of the Saturday Woman Poet idea, I have decided to feature poet Allison Adelle Hedgecoke , with thanks to Julianne Ní Chonchobhair. Info about Allison Adelle Hedgecoke is available via the Poetry Foundation website.

The following is an excerpt from The Willow’s Whisper , a poem by Allison Adelle Hedgecoke.

Crossing Sky Vault Worlds

for Vaughan

Corn, Sunflower raise their faces toward Sun as she slides into
place among blue heavens.
Squash send floral swirls orange-red up into ground fog mist.

An ant angles his way watching constantly for morsels along the path.
Violet morning glories stream upward reaching with their petals
wide open for bursting light.

Rays split seams of blue casting hopeful yellow-white strokes
beaming brightly. Seasons later,
Red Sioux Quartzite speckled white by snow and fully ice-crusted,
holds firm hallowed Sioux Falls grounds nearby.

Glass flows, creating prisms in century-aged windows across this
room. Rainbows flourish here. Long ago,
Black Dog spoke to his master, foretold the coming world flood in
time for a raft to be built sparing Real People.

Children in Quebec, before encroachment, pleaded for maple
sweets each fall. Were pumpkin lanterns lighted?
In my Huron grandmother’s midwifing beaded bag, the entire
universe gleams at me through pointed stars in dreams.

© Allison Adelle Hedgecoke

A full list of the poets featured in the forthcoming  The Willow’s Whisper are included here , N. Scott Momaday, Allison Adelle HedgeCoke, Luke Warm Water,  Sherwin Butsui, Esther Belin, Joy Harjo, Nila Northsun, Joseph Bruchac, Donna Beyer (nee McCorrister), Travis Hedge Coke, Adrian C. Louis , Venaya Yazzie, Richard Van Camp , Odi Gonzales , Lee Maracle , Karenne Wood, Jules Arita Koostachin, Joan Kane,  Fred Bigjim.

‘ haec fecit’ by Iosaf MacDiarmada

Haec Fecit

I find myself with schoolkids
answering dosser’s queries
be original I say and never
query that dodgy dossier.
The war brought Plagiarism
without “inverted commas”

A Limerick

O back in the days of yore
a scallywag feared what for
with a baitin by night
& an ungodly fright
sure the RA kept the peace in Donore.

A Ditty , By Ms Doyle:

War is very bad
and very very sad
too much blood
is very very mad
it makes me cry
Ow! Ow! Ow!
I cry.
too many words
too many men writing words
but it won’t make it go away.
But the war it won’t end
It won’t change the way it ought
Thank God I had that abortion
Somethings can be chosen
no matter what you’re taught.

©Iosaf  MacDiarmada

The image is entitled ‘Eagle Communication‘, by Artist Leonard Baskin ;  and is from his Raptors Folio.