Psalm – Paul Celan

Paul Celan, 1920-1970, poet, German language.

As is known, the poet was an expert in the poetic task of creating images like ballast to try to order and ground the experiences of life. His poetry is his translation of these images into words, often using neologisms, for which he is famous.

All the more expert for the circumstances of his life:  German-speaking, a Jew, born in a Romania which is now part of the Ukraine, and an adult when WW2 began.  His parents died in internment camp.  Paul Celan survived the labour camp to which he was sent. He took his life in 1970 at 49.


Many of his images are complex and hard to read because they deal with experiences which were very hard.  Here, however, is a hard-reached affirmation of life.  

I read Celan not infrequently against the fluff puff of the triple mocha cappuccinos with which we launch into our softer days.




No-man kneads us again out of Earth and Loam,


Persephone Judith Schaecter 2015-4

Detail of Persephone, 2015, stained glass, cut, sandblasted, engraved, painted, fired and assembled with copperfoil.  Judith Schaechter, born 1961, American.


no-man spirits our Dust.



M7; graphite on mat black board.  Toyun Odutola, born 1985, American, born Nigeria.  Philadelphia Art Museum


Praise to you, No-man.
For love of you
we will flower.



Trillium, Mt. Cuba, Delaware



Summersweet (clethra alnifolia), fragrant, shade-loving; in the Tyler Arboretum, Media, Pennsylvania



Mountain laurel Mt. Cuba June 2015-5

 Mountain Laurel, Mt.Cuba, Delaware


towards you.



Black bugbane, Mt. Cuba, Delaware


Crabapple, Winterthur, May 2014-10

 Crabapple flower, Winterthur, Delaware

A Nothing
we were, we are, we shall
be still, flowering:


  Italian windflower, Winterthur, Delaware


the Nothing-, the


NY Botanical Gardens Bronx Roses Mid-June 2015-60

Rose, Bronx, NY


our Pistil soul-bright,



Hibiscus, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia

our Stamen heaven-torn,

Azaleas, Winterthu-28

Azaleas worn out by rain, Winterthur, Delaware

our Corolla red


Roses Brooklyn Botanical Garden June 2015-096

Rose, Brooklyn, NY


with the Violet-Word that we sang

over, O over
the thorn.   

NY Botanical Gardens Bronx Roses Mid-June 2015-01Roses, the Bronx, New York.  

The poet’s last image is of violet which is at the end of the visible spectrum of light between visible blue and invisible ultraviolet.


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