And so the mountain climbs

by Nelly Sachs

And so the mountain climbs
into my window.
Love is unpeopled,
shifting my heart
into the glare of your dust.
My blood settles into a granite-depression.
Love is unpeopled.

Night & death anoint their nation
through and through—
not for the sun.
Star is a sutured night-word—
torn open
by the unpeopled rupturing
of love.

Translated by Eric Plattner


So steigt der Berg

by Nelly Sachs

So steigt der Berg
in mein Fenster hinein.
Unmenschlich ist die Liebe,
versetzt mein Herz
in den Glanz deines Staubes.
Schwermut-Granit wird mein Blut.
Unmenschlich ist die Liebe.

Nacht und Tod bauen ihr Land
einwärts und auswärts—
nicht für die Sonne.
Stern ist ein versiegeltes Abendwort—
von der unmenschlichen Auffahrt
der Liebe.


~ by Ep on November 13, 2011.

4 Responses to “And so the mountain climbs”

  1. Probably untranslateable says this Nelly Sachs translator, OH THE CHIMNEYS, Green Integer has just published a selection from that Nelly Sachs volume that I did in 1966/7.

    • Good to hear from you, Mike. This one was a challenge, yes — my head still hurts. If you can email me a link to the new volume, I’ll post it here.

  2. Untranslatable unless you are in an inspired state, for the poetry surely resides in a certain combination of vowels and consonants that constitute the music that validate what is otherwise a hackneyed sentiment. i was lucky at the time i did the 65 poems in OH THE CHIMNEYS because the state this work put me in, one of deep musical mourning brought out whatever musicality I had in me then, so I tell myself. michael r.

    • Yes, I took “untranslatable” in the Benjaminian sense. And you tell yourself the truth — your translations are breathing entities that, to quote Benjamin, “do not so much serve the work as owe their existence to it.”

      Thanks for your feedback, as always.

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