Landscape Of Screams

That is the planetary hour of the refugees.
That is the headlong flight of the refugees
into the falling sickness, into death!

That is the starfall magically caught
on the threshold, the hearth, the bread.

That is the black apple of knowledge,
The sun of love extinguished and
still smoking!
That is the flower of haste,
dripping with sweat!
Those are the hunters
from the void, made only of flight.

Those are the hunted, carrying their deadly hiding places
into their graves.

That is the sand, startled
with garlands of goodbye.
That is the earth’s venture into the open,
its breath caught
in air’s humility.

One of several versions of the painting "...

One of several versions of the painting “The Scream”. The National Gallery, Oslo, Norway. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Landschaft aus Schreien

Das ist der Flüchtlinge Planetenstunde.
Das ist der Flüchtlinge reißende Flucht
in die Fallsucht, den Tod!

Das ist der Sternfall aus magischer Verhaftung
der Schwelle, des Herdes, des Brots.

Das ist der schwarze Apfel der Erkenntnis,
die Angst!
Erloschene Liebessonne
die raucht!
Das ist die Blume der Eile,
Das sind die Jäger
aus Nichts, nur aus Flucht.

Das sind Gejagde, die ihre tödlichen Verstecke
in die Gräber tragen.

Das ist der Sand, erschrocken
mit Girlanden des Abschieds.
Das ist der Erde Vorstoß ins Freie,
ihr stockender Atem
in der Demut der Luft.

Translator’s Comment: 
I would be grateful for greater clarification of the lines:

Das ist der Sternfall aus magischer Verhaftung
der Schwelle, des Herdes, des Brots.

in particular, the image of “aus magischer Verhaftung der Schwelle”.

Verhaftung – Haft – contains the idea of adhesion as well as detention.
Hence, “magically caught on” rather than “from magic arrest of”.


5 thoughts on “Landscape Of Screams

  1. Dear Catherine,
    I would like to use your translation in the visual atlas on refugees that I am preparing now and which would be accessible online for free since the beginning of the year 2017. It would comprise various visual and textual materials connected with cultural, political and philosophical issues of migration. I would like to use this poem by Nelly Sachs among other poems by Derek Walcott and Mahmoud Darwish. The whole plate of the atlas would concern the figure of the star. The use of it will will be non-commercial and certainly we will put a link to your website. Would you agree?
    Pawel Moscicki

    • You are welcome to share, and thank you for crediting me with the translation. There are several poems on refugees here, some are easier to grasp than this one. I am still not 100% satisfied with my version.

      • Thank you very much. I think the translation is very accurate although I am not a professional. All the best, Pawel

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