When Breath

Dorothy Dehner

Dorothy Dehner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When breath
has reached the hut of night
and goes out
to seek its travailing heavenly abode
and the body
the bleeding vineyard
that has filled vats of silence
when the eyes have passed over
into the seeing light
when each evaporates
into his own secret
and everything is done twice over –
Birth
sings
as it scales every Jacob’s ladder
on the organ of Death

then
a beautiful flash  of sheet-lightning
ignites time –

Wenn der Atem
die Hütte der Nacht erreicht hat
und ausgeht
seinen wehenden Himmelsort zu suchen 

und der Leib
der blutende Weinberg
die Fässer der Stille angefüllt hat
die Augen übergegangen sind
in das sehende Licht 

wenn ein jedes sich in sein Geheimnis
verflüchtigte
und alles doppelt getan ist –
Geburt
alle Jakobsleitern der Todesorgeln hinaufsingt 

dann
zündet ein schönes Wettergeleucht
die Zeit an –

Comment:

I have found two versions of this poem in German. The other has “Wenn der Atem die Hutte der Nacht errichtet hat” = “When breath has erected the hut of night” which I prefer – but most editions have the version printed above.

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