When the Day Empties Itself

In honor of Rosh Hashanah, we present this work by one of the 20th century’s great Jewish poets.

Nellie Sachs
German
1891 – 1970

 

When the day empties itself
In the twilight,
When the imageless time begins,
The lonely voices join together—
The animals are nothing other than the hunting
Or the hunted—
The flowers no more than fragrance—
When everything becomes nameless as in the beginning—
You go under the catacombs of Time,
Which open for those that are near the end—
There where the heart buds grow—
Into the dark inwardliness
You sink downward—
Already past death
Which is only a windy passageway—
And freezing from going out
You open your eyes
Where a new star
Has already left its reflection—

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