The sight of the songbirds at dusk – Paul Celan (translated by Nikolai Popov and Heather McHugh)

The sight of the songbirds at dusk,
through a ring of
ungraphed space,

made me promise myself weapons.

The sight of weapons, hands;
the sight of hands, the line
long since described by a flat, sharp
rock,

– you, wave,
carried it here, sharpened it,
you, Un-
losable One, gave yourself to it,
you, beach sand, are the taker,
partaker,
you, shore-grass, drift
your share –

the line, the line
we swim through, twice each
millennium, tied up
in each other,
and not even the sea,
sublime unfathomable sea
that runs alive through us,
can believe
all the singing in our fingers.