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Teile dich Nacht - Notes

The poems in Part One of this collection were written in the period 1962-7. Those in Parts Two and Three date from 1968. And those in Part Four: from 1968-9.  

Weiss im Krankenhauspark

 This poem was written in early 1962. Sachs had spent much of the previous two  years, and was to spend most of this year as well, as a patient in psychiatric hospitals.

Besessen von Hingabe

 The ‘Marja’ here is Maria Volkonskaya (with her name in its Finnish spelling): a  nineteenth century Russian princess, whose husband was involved in the 1825  Decembrist Uprising. She famously chose to follow him into exile in Siberia. Sachs  had long been fascinated by her, as a symbol of self-sacrificial dedication to another.


 Is there a certain allusion to the speculative theology of Jakob Böhme in this?

Sie schreien nicht mehr

 Reading this, I think of Gustav Vigeland’s ‘Monolith’ sculpture – that great mass of  writhing bodies – in Frogner Park, Oslo. Vigeland was indeed a sympathizer with the  Quisling regime, in its collaboration with the Nazis during the Second World War.  But perhaps that did not prevent Sachs from seeing something positive in his work?

Und reden quer


 The allusions here are to the story of ‘The Goose Maiden’ in the collection of the  Brothers Grimm.


 This refers to the sculptured figure of ‘Synagoga’ in Straßburg Minster: dating from  1220, this is a prejudicial representation of Judaism, blindfolded to indicate the  supposed blindness of the Jews towards the Christian gospel, and humiliated.

Nicht sehn zwei dasselbe wenn sie aus dem Fenster sehn

 Here, I guess, we have two different possible views of Holocaust memorial literature  in general.