Friday, April 07, 2006

The Leaf that Speaks-Paul Celan's "Encounter"

The “I” in Paul Celan’s poem “Encounter” has recaptured a memory and from that memory, the poet or the “I” or the “leaf that speaks” will set the “autumn on fire.”

The rain on green limestone sets the transformative power of memory into motion and produces a series of images that reflect the poet’s duty to awaken and swallow the wine of sorrow and memory.

The dead have risen, like smoke from a funeral pyre, and blanketed “the regions of air” and the poet must climb his “belated ladder” to “take a bite from your head.”

The poet must, like “a human tongue,” trumpet “audacity in a helmet.”

The “leaf,” delivered in a funereal urn, will speak for the angry trees, full of fury.

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