23+ Best Paul Celan Poems

Paul Celan was a Romanian-born German-language poet and translator. He was born as Paul Antschel to a Jewish family in Cernăuți, in the then Kingdom of Romania, and adopted the pseudonym “Paul Celan”. He became one of the major German-language poets of the post–World War II era.

If you’re searching for famous poems ever that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of greatest Jonathan Swift poems, powerful Joseph Brodsky poems and most known Edwin Arlington Robinson poems.

Famous Paul Celan Poems

There Was Earth

There was Earth in them, and
they dug.

They dug and they dug, and so
their Day went by, and their Night. And they did not praise God,
who, so they heard, wanted all this,
who, so they heard, knew of all this.

They dug and they heard nothing more;
did not grow wise, invented no Song,
thought up for themselves no Language.
They dug.

There came a Silence, there came a Storm,
There came every Ocean.
I dig, you dig, and it digs, the Worm,
and the Singing, there, says: They dig.

O someone, o none, o no one, o you:
Where did it lead to, that nowhere-leading?
O you dig and I dig, and I dig towards you,
and on our finger awakens the Ring.

Only When

Only when
as a Shade I touch you,
will you believe my

that climbs with Late-
Minded things up there
around the

you come to the Host
of the Twice-Using among
the Angels,


Stuttered-Over-Again World

Stuttered-over-again World,
where I shall have been
a Guest, a Name,
sweated down from the Wall,
that a Wound licks up.

Whorish Other-When

Whorish other-when. And Eternity
blood-black en-babelled.

with your loamy Locks
my Faith.

Two Fingers, hand-far,
row towards a swampy

On My Right

On my Right – who? The Death-Woman.
And you, on my Left, you?

The Wandering-Sickles in extra-
heavenly Place
mime themselves grey-white
Moon-Swallows, together,

I plunge there
and pour an Urnful
down onto you,
in you.


Autunm eats its leaf out of my hand: we are friends.
From the nuts we shell time and we teach it to walk:
then time returns to the shell.

In the mirror it’s Sunday,
in dream there is room for sleeping,
our mouths speak the truth.

My eye moves down to the sex of my loved one:
we look at each other,
we exchange dark words,
we love each other like poppy and recollection,
we sleep like wine in the conches,
like the sea in the moon’s blood ray.

We stand by the window embracing, and people look up from
the street:
it is time they knew!
It is time the stone made an effort to flower,
time unrest had a beating heart.
It is time it were time.

It is time.

Translated by Michael Hamburger

Your Hand

Your hand full of hours, you came to me – and I said:
‘Your hair is not brown.’
You lifted it, lightly,
on to the balance of grief,
it was heavier than I.

They come to you on their ships, and make it their load,
then put it on sale in the markets of lust.
You smile at me from the deep.
I weep at you from the scale that’s still light.
I weep: Your hair is not brown.
They offer salt-waves of the sea,
and you give them spume.
You whisper: ‘They’re filling the world with me now,
and for you I’m still a hollow way in the heart!
You say: ‘Lay the leaf-work of years by you, it’s time,
that you came here and kissed me.
The leaf-work of years is brown, your hair is not brown.


not on my lips look for your mouth,
not in front of the gate for the stranger,
not in the eye for the tear.

seven nights higher red makes for red,
seven hearts deeper the hand knocks on the gate,
seven roses later plashes the fountain.


The stone.
The stone in the air, which I followed.
Your eye, as blind as the stone.

We were
we baled the darkness empty, we found
the word that ascended summer:

Flower – a blind man’s word.
Your eye and mine:
they see
to water.

Heart wall upon heart wall
adds petals to it.

One more word like this word, and the hammers
will swing over open ground.

This Evening Also

more fully,
since snow fell even on this
sun-drifted, sun-drenched sea,
blossoms the ice in those baskets
you carry into town.

you demand in return,
for the last
rose back at home
this evening also wants to be fed
out of the trickling hour.

I Can Still See You

I can still see you: an Echo,
to be touched with Feeler-
Words, on the Parting-

Your face softly shies away,
when all at once there is
lamp-like brightness
in me, at the Point,
where most painfully one says Never.

Little Night

Little Night: when you
take me within, within,
up there,
three Pain-Inches above
the Floor:

all the Shroud-Coats of Sand,
all the Help-Nots,
all, that still
with the Tongue –

I Hear

I hear, the Axe has flowered,
I hear, the Place is un-nameable,

I hear, the Bread, that looks on him,
heals the Hanged-Man,
the Bread, his Wife baked for him,

I hear, they name Life
our sole Refuge.

Ice, Eden

There is a Land that’s Lost,
Moon waxes in its Reeds,
and all that’s turned to frost
with us, burns there and sees.

It sees, for it has Eyes,
Earths they are, and bright.
Night, Night, Alkalis.
It sees, this Child of Sight.

It sees, it sees, we see,
I see you, you too see.
Ice will rise again before
This Hour shall cease to be.

When You Lie

When you lie
in the Bed of lost Flag-Cloth,
with blue-black Syllables, in Snow-Eyelash-Shadow,
the Crane through Thought-
comes gliding, steely-
you open for him.

His beak ticks the Hour for you
at every Mouth – at every
bell-stroke, with red-hot Rope, a Silent-
Un-Pulse and Pulse
mint each other to death,
the Dollars, the Cents,
rain hard through your Pores,
you fly there and bar
the Doors Yesterday and Tomorrow – phosphorescent,
buds the one, and buds the
other breast,
towards the Grasping, under
the Thrusts –: so thick,
so deeply
the starry


Silence, like Gold cooked in

Vast, grey,
near as all that is Lost

All the Names, all the with-
Burnt up
Names. So much
Ash to be blessed. So much
Land gained
the light, so light

Vast. Grey. Clinker-

You, then.
You with the pale
bitten-out bud,
You in the Wine-Flood.

(Did it not discharge
us too, this Hour?
Good, that your Word died away here.)

Silence, like Gold cooked, in
charred, charred
Fingers, smoke-thin. Like Crowns, Air-Crowns
around – –

Vast. Grey. Track-


We are near, Lord,
near and at hand.

Handled already, Lord,
clawed and clawing as though
the body of each of us were
your body, Lord.

Pray, Lord,
pray to us,
we are near.

Wind-awry we went there,
went there to bend
over hollow and ditch.

To be watered we went there, Lord.

It was blood, it was
what you shed, Lord.

It gleamed.

It cast your image into our eyes, Lord.
Our eyes and our mouths are open and empty, Lord.

We have drunk, Lord.
The blood and the image that was in the blood, Lord.

Pray, Lord.
We are near.

To Stand In The Shadow

To stand in the Shadow
of the Wound’s-Mark in the Air.

For no-one and nothing to Stand.
for you

With all, that within finds Room,
even without

The Poles

The Poles
are within us,
while Awake,
we sleep across, to the Gate
of Mercy,

I lose you to you, that
is my Snow-Comfort,

say, that Jerusalem is,

say, as if I were this
your Whiteness,
as if you were

as if without us we could be we,

I open your leaves, forever,

you bless, you bed
us free.

The Trumpet-Part

The Trumpet-Part
deep in the glowing
at Torch-Height,
in the Time-Hole:

listen in
with your Mouth.

The Straitening


Driven into the
with the unmistakable track:

grass, written asunder. The stones, white,
with the shadows of grassblades:
Do not read any more – look!
Do not look any more – go!

Go, your hour
has no sisters, you are –
are at home. A wheel, slow,
rolls out of itself, the spokes
climb on a blackish field, the night
needs no stars, nowhere
does anyone ask after you.

does anyone ask after you –

The place where they lay, it has
a name – it has
none. They did not lie there. Something
lay between them. They
did not see through it.

Did not see, no,
spoke of
words. None
came over them.

Came, came. Nowhere
anyone asks –

It is I, I,
I lay between you, I was
open, was
audible, ticked at you, your breathing
obeyed, it is
I still, but then
you are asleep.

It is I still –

years, years, a finger
feels down and up, feels
seams, palpable, here
it is split wide open, here
it grew together again – who
covered it up?

Covered it
up – who?

Came, came.
Came a word, came,
came through the night,
wanted to shine, wanted to shine.

Ash, ash.
Night-and-night. – Go
to the eye, the moist one.

to the eye,
the moist one –

Gales, from the beginning of time,
whirl of particles, the other,
know it, though, we
read it in the book, was

Was, was
opinion. How
did we touch
each other – each other with

There was written too, that.
Where? We
put a silence over it,
stilled with poison, great,
silence, a sepal, an
idea of vegetation attached to it –
green, yes,
attached, yes,
under a crafty

Of, yes,

Gales, whirl of part-
icles, there was
time left, time
to try it out with the stone – it
was hospitable, it
did not cut in. How
lucky we were:

grainy and stringy. Stalky,
grapy and radiant; kidneyish,
flattish and
lumpy; loose, tang-
led -; he, it
did not cut in, it
willingly spoke to dry eyes, before closing them.

Spoke, spoke.
Was, was.

would not let go, stood
in the midst, a
porous edifice, and
it came.

Came at us, came
through us, patched
invisibly, patched
away at the last membrane
the world, a millicrystal,
shot up, shot up.

Shot up, shot up.
Then –

Nights, demixed. Circles,
green or blue, scarlet
squares: the
world puts its inmost reserves
into the game with the new
hours. – Circles,
red or black, bright
squares, no
flight shadow,
measuring table, no
smoke soul ascends or joins in.

Ascends and
joins in –

At owl’s flight, near
the petrified scabs,
our fled hands, in
the latest rejection,
the rifle-range near
the buried wall:

visible, once
more: the
grooves, the

choirs, at that time, the
psalms. Ho, ho-

there are temples yet. A
probably still has light.
nothing is lost.


At owl’s flight, here,
the conversations, day-grey,
of the water-level traces.

the water-level traces –
Driven into the
the unmistakable

written asunder.)

With The Voice

With the voice of the Field-mouse
You squeak up,

a sharp
you bite through my Shirt into the Skin,

a Cloth,
you slither over my Mouth,
in the midst of my,
to you, Shadow, burdensome,


Vinegrowers dig up dig
under the darkhoured watch,
depth for depth,

you read,
the invisible
one commands the wind
to stay in bounds,

you read,

the Open Ones carry
the stone behind the eye,
it recognizes you,
on a Sabbath.