Where Are The Words

Where are the words to be found
illuminated ones from the virgin sea
words to open eyes
words unhurt by tongues
concealed by the light-wise
for your inflamed Ascension
the words
that will draw a universe steered to silence
into your Springtimes  –

Wo nur finden die Worte
die Erhellten vom Erstlingsmeer
die Augen-Aufschlagenden
die nicht mit Zungen verwundeten
die von den Lichter-Weisen versteckten
für deine entzündete Himmelfahrt
die Worte
die ein zum Schweigen gesteuerte Weltall
mitzieht in deine Frühlinge –


One thought on “Where Are The Words

  1. It is said that some traumatic events will cause extreme side effects. For Nelly Sachs, seeing her husband, or bridegroom as she refers to him, being interrogated and tortured to death caused that said trauma. In Sachs’ biography it is stated that during the interrogation process her “lips were sealed” and that she couldn’t speak for a while after the events. “Where are the Words” is in its own way a confession. Not exactly like Gene revealing his story in A Separate Peace, but as her admitting her muteness and wondering why she couldn’t talk. Nellie Sachs’ reaction to the torture of her bridegroom is one of immense compassion. She suffered with him. That is why she had the reaction she did (muteness). That is why she was grieving so much, so much that she spent the rest of her days in Sweden. She felt so much compassion she could never even think about returning to the very place that had caused so much emotional torture. Nellie Sachs says, “where are the words unhurt by tongues”. That is again a reference to the interrogation/torture of her husband, the tongues of the captors hurt her so much she went mute. Who is “your”? Who is Nellie Sachs talking to in “Where are the Words”? She is actually speaking to her god in this poem. It is more of a prayer than a poem actually; she is asking God to give her words (to let her speak)… so that she can pray. It is actually very ironic and that is what makes it beautiful.

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