Paul Celan

There was earth inside them, and they dug.
 
They dug and they dug, so their day
went by for them, their night. And they did not praise God,
who, so they heard, wanted all this,
who, so they heard, knew all this.
 
They dug and heard nothing more;
they did not grow wise, invented no song,
thought up for themselves no language.
They dug.
 
There came a stillness, and there came a storm,
and all the oceans came.
I dig, you dig, and the worm digs too,
and that singing out there says: They dig.
 
O one, o none, o no one, o you:
Where did the way lead when it led nowhere?
O you dig and I dig, and I dig towards you,
and on our finger the ring awakens.
 
translated by Michael Hamburger
 


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