Authors / Poets / Poetry · 2 April 2020

Paul Celan in Paris, 1970


J O S E P H    F A S A N O





So this is how it ends,

with water.


I, whose age was writ in fire.


Let them say

my life was my life.


What else would they say of it?


I remember the dead in it

like boots hung up in the rafters.


I remember men came

and took away my mother,

her dark hair

woven in the wrens’ nests

in the attic.


Once, then, once

I was a music.


Once, in the forests of the Putna,


had hung a buck in the branches.

I opened

and filled that hush with honey


and listened

as the flocks thrashed through the branches

and slipped in

and writhed inside the body

and swayed it

like the waking in their changes

and made it dance

the dance that outlasts all.


A life is just that, then, a great lie—

silent, wild, madness.



and my one, dumb prayer for it—

my beautiful, useless prayer for it:


If I cannot be a story, make me song.









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