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by Paul Celan

Deathfugue Mortality Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (line)

Quote #4

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at midday Death is a master aus Deutschland
we drink you at evening and morning we drink and we drink (lines 28-30)

In the final turn of the fugue, did you notice how Celan slipped "Death is a master aus Deutschland" into the theme about black milk? This addition makes the poem seem to move faster and more out of control, and it also foreshadows the depiction of executions in the last stanza.

Quote #5

he shoots you with shot made of lead shoots you level and true
a man lives in the house your goldenes Haar Margarete
he looses his hounds on us grants us a grave in the air (lines 32-34)

This description of executions is chillingly matter-of-fact. The prisoners did not have any chance of escape; the guard merely points and shoots. But beneath this orderly facade, you can only imagine the panic and terror of the scene. Why does Celan choose to understate this last bit?

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