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108th Virtual Poetry Circle

Welcome to the 108th Virtual Poetry Circle!

Remember, this is just for fun and is not meant to be stressful.

Keep in mind what Molly Peacock’s books suggested. Look at a line, a stanza, sentences, and images; describe what you like or don’t like; and offer an opinion. If you missed my review of her book, check it out here.

Also, sign up for the 2011 Fearless Poetry Reading Challenge because its simple; you only need to read 1 book of poetry. Please contribute to the growing list of 2011 Indie Lit Award Poetry Suggestions, visit the stops on the National Poetry Month Blog Tour from April.

Today’s poem is from Paul Celan:

Fugue of Death (translated by Christopher Middleton)

Black milk of daybreak we drink it at nightfall
we drink it at noon in the morning we drink it at night
we drink it and drink it
we are digging a grave in the sky it is ample to lie there
A man in the house he plays with the serpents he writes
he writes when the night falls to Germany your golden
	hair Margarete
he writes it and walks from the house the stars glitter he
	whistles his dogs up
he whistles his Jews out and orders a grave to be dug in
	the earth
he commands us strike up for the dance

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you in the morning at noon we drink you at
	nightfall
drink you and drink you
A man in the house he plays with the serpents he writes
he writes when the night falls to Germany your golden
	hair Margarete
Your ashen hair Shulamith we are digging a grave in the
	sky it is
ample to lie there

He shouts stab deeper in earth you there and you others
	you sing and you play
he grabs at the iron in his belt and swings it and blue are
	his eyes
stab deeper your spades you there and you others play on
	for the dancing

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at nightfall
we drink you at noon in the mornings we drink you at
	nightfall
drink you and drink you
a man in the house your golden hair Margarete
your ashen hair Shulamith he plays with the serpents

He shouts play sweeter death's music death comes as a
	master from Germany
he shouts stroke darker the strings and as smoke you
	shall climb to the sky
then you'll have a grave in the clouds it is ample to lie
	there

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at noon death comes as a master from
	Germany
we drink you at nightfall and morning we drink you and
	drink you
a master from Germany death comes with eyes that are
	blue
with a bullet of lead he will hit in the mark he will hit
	you
a man in the house your golden hair Margarete
he hunts us down with his dogs in the sky he gives us a
	grave
he plays with the serpents and dreams death comes as a
	master from Germany

your golden hair Margarete
your ashen hair Shulamith.

Let me know your thoughts, ideas, feelings, impressions. Let’s have a great discussion…pick a line, pick an image, pick a sentence.

I’ve you missed the other Virtual Poetry Circles. It’s never too late to join the discussion.

  • Wow, what a powerful poem about the Holocaust. I hadn’t heard of Paul Celan until you posted this, but I’ll have to read more of his work. It’s haunting, helped along by the repetition.