06 December 2012

Poetry Thursday - In the Blue Distance by Nelly Sachs

In the blue distance

by Nelly Sachs; translated by Eric Plattner

In the blue distance,
where the red scribble of apple trees wanders off
on rooted feet, climbing the sky,
longing will be rendered
for all those alive in the valley.

The sun’s magic wands
doze by the roadside,
command the travelers to halt.

They remain standing
in the glass nightmare.
The cricket scrapes thinly
at the invisible

and the stone dances
into the music of dust.

(poem from redyucca.wordpress.com; image: "Blue Distance" by Tania Rutland

An analysis of the poem says, in part:

'The poem’s travelers look toward “the blue distance,” where “longing is distilled” or where one can recognize and find deliverance from longing. Exactly what one longs for (peace, forgiveness, love, death?) is not specified in the poem, but the mood of the work is one of acceptance. The mood of quiet reconciliation in the last stanza offers the possibility of transcendence from hate and bitterness. That offer is perhaps made with reference to the suffering of the Holocaust, if only implicitly. ...
'“In the Blue Distance” is highly imagistic. Its impact comes from the visual intensity of its metaphors as well as from their eerie, mystical reverberations. In this sense it is similar to most of Sachs’s work. ... Sachs’s concentrated and emotional language, its allusions and metaphors, unfold only slowly, and the reader must be prepared not to rely on a need for explicit meaning but to experience the mystery of the poem. ... That the work breaks down into three relatively simple sentences shows Sachs’s ability to comb away the wool surrounding an emotion she wishes to convey and to find a beautifully simple correlation in the imagery. The poem’s concrete images are the key to this fertile simplicity.'

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