The Vintagers

by Emily

Paul Celan

They harvest the wine of their eyes,
they crush out all of the weeping, this also:
thus willed by the night,
the night, which they’re leaning against, the wall,
thus forced by the stone,
the stone, over which their crook-stick speaks into
the silence of answers–
their crook-stick, which just once,
just once in fall,
when the year swells to death, swollen grapes,
which just once will speak right through muteness
down into the mineshaft of musings.

They harvest, they crush out the wine,
they press down on time like their eye,
they cellar the seepings, the weepings,
in a sun grave they make ready
with night-toughened hands:
so that a mouth might thirst for this, later–
a latemouth, like to their own:
bent toward blindness and lamed–
a mouth to which the draught from the depth foams upward, meantime
heaven descends into waxen seas,
and far off, as a candle-end, glistens,
at last when the lip comes to moisten.

I am slowly making my way through Selected Poems and Prose of Paul Celan, translated by John Felstiner. I say slowly because his work wrings me out, in the best way possible.

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