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O the Chimneys (Koppenplatz, Berlin)

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O the Chimneys (Koppenplatz, Berlin)

Originally uploaded by yish.

And though after my skin worms destroy this body,
yet in my flesh shall I see God. JOB 19:26

O the chimneys
On the ingeniously devised habitations of death
When Israel’s body drifted as smoke
Through the air –
Was welcomed by a star, a chimney sweep,
a star that turned black
Or was it a ray of sun?

O the chimneys!
Freedomway for Jeremiah and Job’s dust –
Who devised you and laid stone upon stone
The road for refugees of smoke?

O the habitations of death,
Invitingly appointed
For the host who used to be a guest –
O you fingers
Laying the threshold
Like a knife between life and death –

O you chimneys,
O you fingers
And Israel’s body as smoke through the air!

Nelly Sachs
Translated by Michael Hamburger

Thanks to:


Written by yishaym

December 3, 2006 at 2:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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