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Nelly Sachs

Teile dich Nacht /

O Night, Divide

(1971) - part 4


Ihr meine Toten

My dead

I want to help your dreams outlive you

Night has done its worst

and yet it cannot stop the birds from singing

Memories like people need


they come crowding

But haunted by the memories

of my own trembling moments of despair

it seems

I lack the necessary strength

to speak unscathed

for all

What then will be my legacy?

My legacy is salt

Vor meinem Fenster

Outside my window

sits a chirping bird

Beyond the window-pane

the chirping bird:

you see it

and hear


I see it

and hear


one solar system meets

two pairs of listening ears

Teile dich Nacht

O night divide

Well may your darkling wings

begin to shake

My spells – beware – will conjure back

the bloodstained carcase

of the dusk

Nicht sehn zwei dasselbe wenn sie aus dem Fenster sehn



 Window voice 1

The prophet stands

in Golgotha

beside the brink of hell

his hair’s aflame

he bites upon the fateful apple

then he spits it out

 Window voice 2

You’ve seen what you have seen

but now fresh undergrowth

conceals the spot

and so you take a vengeful stick to it

and slash


Suche nach Lebenden



We look out of the window

you and I

The scene’s unchanged

and yet you see a ┼ and

I a tree

How far apart we are my friend

Only remember though what crosses are

outside the liturgy

The pine tree in the carver’s hand

wept one last tear

Was it alive?

How much of me I wonder truly still survives?


Here’s the door

that locked the horror in

You saw what happened on the other side

but now it seems

the memory has you beat

Yet death calls out to us

parades its mysteries

A sudden equatorial blaze of lightning plays

upon the marionette

There’s no inoculation ever

could have made

the Spirit safe

One cloud will melt

into the next

The sun’s reflected in the prophet’s eye

the prophet’s soul is wrenched apart in praise


My blood’s akin

to all the grief there ever was –

woe – woe – woe –

this script goes ghosting out

into a frozen sea

We live beneath the missile-paths

the elderberry grows beneath the missile-paths

the birdwings flap beneath the missile-paths

the swan presides upon the mirrored lake

so time drifts by

It’s night: cock crows blood flows

vile treachery is everywhere

The winds above the tundra-wastes

are gaming at roulette

yet here I stand in faith –

Der Sumpf der Krankheit

The swamp of sickness

sucks one in

wan daylight battling with the ignis fatuus

night yawns in mercy

death extends its arms –

And every darkened corner

calls my dizzied soul

The beggar clad in funeral black cries out for

just another little dream –