Writers' Corner

John Felstiner*

2002 Prose

Translator's Statement

from Correspondance (1951-1970) de Paul Celan et Gisèle Celan-Lestrange
translated by John Felstiner.

Rights held by Suhrkamp Verlag.

Le Vésinet [clinic] - Paul Celan to Gisèle Celan-Lestrange

My dearest! My beloved!

It's two in the afternoon, after lying down (without sleeping) for an hour and a half I've just opened the door to the terrace and garden, a blackbird is walking on the lawn, it's fine weather, the sun is out, a quietness comes over me - I'm writing to you.

Today is the day before I go home, I've been thinking about it since this morning. Tomorrow, about this same time, you'll come to Le Vésinet, you'll arrange what needs arranging at the clinic office, then you'll come get me and with you I'll find our home again, the one on rue de Longchamp, and the one at Moisville, these two homes where you've waited for me with Eric.

Thank you, my Beloved, thanks again and again for everything you are, everything you do!

I know well enough there are many things that still need overcoming. We will overcome them.

...

And we shall take up our work again. I saw your etchings being born alongside my poems, born from those very poems, and you know that Atemkristall, which again opened up the paths of poetry for me, was born from your etchings. - So how could we not rediscover, in the deepest part of ourselves, what helped us and will help us live along with Eric? Surely we'll recover all that's ours, recover our strength and our joy.

I hope you'll receive these lines tomorrow morning, to start the day.

Hug our son Eric, hug him close, tenderly. I put my arms around you both, I am with you, I embrace you.