Earlier this week, I was invited to participate in a reading with Anne Barrows and Chana Bloch that acknowledged Kristalnacht. So, I dug out some translations I did back in the early 1990s of some lesser-known Paul Celan poems. Here is one of them:
There was earth inside them, and
They dug and dug, and their day
passed, their night. And they did not praise God,
who, so they heard, wanted all this,
who, so they heard, knew all this.
They dug and heard nothing more;
They did not grow wise, invented no song,
created no language.
There came a stillness, there came a storm,
there came oceans, one and all.
I dig, you dig, the worms dig, too,
and the singing out there says: They dig.
O one, O none, O no one, O you:
Where did it lead when it lead nowhere?
O you dig and I dig and I dig through to you,
and on our finger, the ring wakes up.