The Ghosting Of Paul Celan

by Christopher Middleton

In shadow from the past
I have tried to tell
of what the breath-crystal
in a word rejects:
greed of the eyes to see again,
greed of the fingers, all five.

Against the odds an image,
against the flow,
no pronouncements,
advancing –
                     Thicket, the image
lunges through the thicket
out there, in the head.

Firebomb and
martyrdom, how
neighbourly in sound, by wires
people move, Punch
and Black-Eyes. Wires twist
round cortex and ankle.

Slow image, painful, breathless:
in ordinary civvies
four or five of them,
seen from behind, four or five
dispersed, walk forward beneath
the living branches.

In the red gaze of wine
in its house of glass
there’ll be sometimes a dragon;
sometimes a reminder
that trust is for the free,
the foolish, the very rare free.

Sliding through cropped grass
boots and shoes

and then the foreknown
about to happen, any moment
some unspeakable thing.

See then ways they mix
into the mutations. If we cringe,
the god will spit on us;
apprehend the tact while pipe and string
carry us away,
and in the music we are lost.