Poems referring to Paul Celan’s poetry by Germain Droogenbroodt



at the eastern window
appears to him now the tiny
wandering figure of emotion
                –Paul Celan


Along the branches of the trees
ascends now the darkness,
and the evening,
dying a thousand deaths
condenses into night
adorning with its black veil
the twinkling light
the sprinters of the day


At the window of my room
as vain beacon burns
the electric light.


English needs to be checked


from: “Palpable Absence”





    am östlichen Fenster
erscheint ihm zur Nachtzeit die schmale
Wandergestalt des Gefühls
Paul Celan

Langs het takwerk der bomen
klimt nu omhoog het duister,
en de avond,
die duizend doden sterft,
verdicht nu tot nacht
die haar zwarte sluier siert
met tintellicht:
de scherven van de dag.


In het venster van mijn kamer
brandt als vergeefse baken
het elektrisch licht.

Uit: “Tastbare afwezigheid”



Tiempo de la noche

   en la ventana de Oriente
se asoma al tiempo de la noche la estrecha
silueta caminante del sentimiento
                 Paul Celan

Por las ramas de los árboles
sube ahora la oscuridad,
y la tarde, muriendo mil muertes,
se condensa en noche,


adorna su vela negra
con luces titilantes:
fragmentos de día.


En la ventana de mi cuarto
prende, cual faro inútil,
la luz eléctrica.


de “Palpable como la ausencia”





          for Paul Celan

Full moon
strangling light
on the black water
of the lake


magic circle
in which like mosquitoes dance
the ghosts of deceased poets


following the night horn’s call
lost in the haze.


From “Do you know the Country?, Meditations at Lake Como”



Nachthoorn (Pognana 16/8/89

                   voor Paul Celan

Volle maan
op het zwarte water
van het meer


waarin als muggen
de geesten der gestorven dichters dansen


de lokroep
van de nachthoorn volgend
in de nevel verdwaald.


Uit „Ken je het land?, Meditaties aan het Comomeer”



As one knows…


When the night wrecked its forests…
                Paul Celan


As one knows
that a subterranean river
is invisible but nevertheless is there


so he knows
how helpless the body
pours out its life and self-destructs


precisely at this moment
life seems easier
than ever before.



Como se sabe…


Cuando la noche destrozaba sus bosques…
Paul Celan


Como se sabe
que un río subterráneo
no es visible y sin embargo existe


él sabe
que indefenso el cuerpo
vierte y destruye su vida


precisamente ahora
que vivir sería tan sencillo
como nunca antes.


De “Conversación con el más allá”



Zoals men weet…

Als die Nacht ihre Wälder verheerte…
Paul Celan


Zoals men weet
dat een onderaardse rivier
niet zichtbaar is en niettemin bestaat


weet hij
hoe weerloos het lichaam
zijn leven uitstort en vernielt


precies op dit moment
nu leven zo eenvoudig lijkt
als nooit voorheen.


Uit: “Gesprek met de overkant”




In the almond, what is in the almond?
The nothingness

Paul Celan

Soundless foghorn
the moist mouth behind the bars
of darkness


don’t call me
don’t give me a name


other than somebody
who passed by.


From “Unshadowed Light”





In der Mandel, was steht in der Mandel?
Das Nichts
Paul Celan

Klankloze misthoorn
de vochtige mond achter het traliewerk
van duisternis


noem mij niet
geef mij geen naam


anders dan iemand
die voorbijging.


Uit “Ontschaduwd light”




En la mandorla, ¿Qué está en la ¿
La nada
               Paul Celan


El crepúsculo

desplaza los límites de la luz

invisible ahora

el escollo

– espina o rosa, juega la noche sus dados

con pecios y caracolas

del pirata

ardor de brasas candentes en el corazón

que con los dedos afables de antaño lee

imágenes amarillentas.


De “Desombrada luz”





A voice, out of which
you take the drink.
Paul Celan


Star-drinking the moon-mouth
at the night’s vault


quenching-drink for the low-tide


poppy-glow in the breakers
of the heart.


From “Unshadowed Light”





Eine Stimme, aus dem du
den Trunk schöpfst
Paul Celan


Sterdrinkend de maanmond
in het nachtgewelf


lesdrank voor de ebbe


Papavergloed in de branding
van het hart.


Uit “Ontschaduwd licht”




Una voz, de la que tú
sacas la bebida
Paul Celan


Estrella-bebiendo la boca de la luna
en la bóveda de la noche


bebida que sacia para el reflujo


ardor-amapola en el rompiente
del corazón.


de “Desombrada luz”




                        to Paul Celan


The ice-wind pulls at the clockface

bends shadowly *

the hands



in the evening glow

the bird’s cry.



* shadowly: neologism, means in the way of the shadow

English must be revised

from: “In the Stream of Time, Meditations in the Himalayas”




voor Paul Celan


De ijswind rukt aan het cijferblad
buigt schaduwgewijs
de wijzers om


in het avondrood
de vogelkreet.


Uit¨ In de stroom van de tijd, Meditaties in de Himalaya


Continue reading „Poems referring to Paul Celan’s poetry by Germain Droogenbroodt”

Germain DROOGENBROODT: Poems (english)



as a poem writes itself
daybreak comes
from nothing into being

disposes of silence
and brings light

everywhere arises green
victuals for the sun

which from the earth
no other darkness removes

but the night.


DO NOT follow the stars of the night
but go upstream following the darkness
earthly and palpable


don’t save the alms
share bread and wine
with the nomads of the night


throw roses in the break of day.




THE STARS are hardly more
than dispersed fragments
of an invisible unity


Resisting all questions
about what disappears
or continues to exist


just as in the stem of the autumn tree
although invisible
the blossom is already present.




Earth, are you still more
than a spark of the primal light


a mutilated boulder
lost in the universe?


The golden calf
unwinged the angel

and the ruler
–as prophet disguised–
spreads lies as truth


barely audible remains
the familiar wingbeat
the double pulse of the heart.





Since many months no rain

they suffer

but still they are green

because without hope

neither they can live

– the trees.





Like an ephemeral flower

like a handful of snow

which for a moment glitters in the sun

and melts

slowly seeps away


merges with

and again becomes




The ravens fly in swarms
the eagle flies alone
Luchino Visconti


So close to heaven
flies the eagle
as the poet

who patiently waits
the arrival of a verse

till the pen

scratches finally a few a few lines

still doubting
the sense

the idleness
of naming.




What else
searches the word for
in the sediment of the verse
if not for the impalpable
– which exists

just as the water of the river
escapes the hand
but learns its limits in the jar
conserves its form
and refreshes

as sometimes does
a poem




Unmoved flowing
between past and present:

the river


reflecting at dusk
the heaven-defying towers
the colourful, ephemeral glitter


the testament
the stone trace of men.




Find the bottom
at the bottomless


read the hours
in the whirlpool
of time


experience silence
not as a void
but as fullness


unfold light
with the shadows
of the night


span a bridge
with unspoken words

create a rainbow
with the colours of peace.


(To Hugo Mujica)

Although the roots
searching for water
embrace each other


and the branches
searching for light
draw apart

Continue reading „Germain DROOGENBROODT: Poems (english)”