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A Poem “Corona” by Paul Celan

  • Rooney
    Roony Mara in “Carol” here.

  • Why I Recite the Same Paul Celan Poem to All My Dates

    Paul Celan reads Corona (Youtube)

  • Corona

    Autumn nibbles its leaf from my hand.
    We are friends.

    We shell time from the nuts and teach them to walk.
    Time returns into its shell.

    In the mirror is Sunday.
    In dreams come sleeping–
    the mouth speaks true.

    My eye moves down to my lover’s loins.
    We gaze at each other and we speak dark things.

    We love one another like poppy, like memory
    we slumber like wine in the sea shells
    like the sea in the moon’s blood jet.

    One heart beat for unrest.

    We stand at the window embracing.
    People watch us from the street.
    It is time people knew. It is time
    the stone consented to bloom.

    It is time it came time.
    It is time.

    The first time I read “Corona,” I perceived Celan’s hope, urgency and romance. I had never memorized a poem before and it occurred to me, after that first read, that his was a poem for committing to memory. Also, I had some time on my hands: I was on hiatus from my waitressing job because I had to temporarily wear an eye-patch.

    “Corona” is an outlier within Celan’s poetry. This poem is quite different from his defining works like “Death Fugue”—“he looses his hounds on us and grants us a grave in the air”—or “Ashglory”—“the drowned rutterblade / deep / in the petrified oath.” If you’re not familiar, Celan’s poetry is pretty dark. Celan’s writing contains explicit ties to the trauma of World War II; he spent his early twenties being forced to burn Russian literature in Bukovia and was later imprisoned in a Romanian labor camp. He was separated from his parents, who were sent to a separate camp, and was the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust. He would allude to this survivor’s guilt in the thousands of letters and poems he wrote over the course of his life until, at the age of 49, he died by suicide.

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    Previous Post (see a video of him reciting Todesfuge.. powerful & moving)

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