In Front Of A Candle

I formed the holder of gold,
as you told me to mother,
gold, out of which She comes,
a shade, to me, in the middle
of fracturing hours,
being-dead’s daughter.

Slender in shape,
a thin, almond-eyed shadow,
her mouth and her sex
danced round by creatures from sleep,
out of the cave of the gold,
she rises up,
to the summit of Now.

With night-dark-shrouded
I speak the Prayer:

In the name of the Three
who fight with each other, until
heaven reaches down into the graveyard of feeling,
in the name of the Three, whose rings
gleam on my finger, whenever
I loose the hair of the trees into the abyss,
so that the richer floods rush down through the deeps-

in the name of the first of the Three
who shrieked,
when he was called on to live,
where his word went before him,
in the name of the second, who watched it and wept,
in the name of the third, who piles
white stones in the middle –
I say you are free
of the amen that overpowers us,
of the ice-filled light at its rim,
there, where tower-high it enters the sea,
there, where the grey one, the dove
picks at the names
this side and that side of dying:
You still, you still, you still,
a dead woman’s child,
sealed to the No of my yearning,
wedded to a cleft in time
to which the mother-word led me,
so that a single spasm
would pass through the hand
that now, and now, grasps at my heart!

by Paul Celan

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