Teile dich Nacht -
The poems in Part One of this collection were written in the period 1962-
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-
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.