Nelly Sachs is a Jewish German poet and playwright whose experiences resulting from the rise of the Nazis in World War II Europe transformed her into a powerful voice for the grief and yearnings of her fellow Jews and the oppressed. She won a Nobel Prize for her work and today, December 10, is her birthday. In her honor, some words of wisdom to inspire and guide us:
“Bewitched is half of everything.”
“Instead of a homeland, I hold the metamorphoses of the world.”
“We mothers rock into the heart of the world the melody of peace.”
“But silence is where victims dwell.”
“But for the homeless all ways wither like cut flowers.”
“We breathed the air of freedom without knowing the language or any person.”
“You, the inexperienced, who learn nothing in the nights. Many angels are given you; But you do not see them.”
“When sleep leaves the body like smoke and man, sated with secrets, drives the overworked nag of quarrel out of its stall, then the fire-breathing union begins anew.”
“World, they have taken the small children, like butterflies, and thrown them, beating their wings, into the fire.”
“We, the rescued,
Show us your sun, but gradually.
Lead us from star to star, step
Be gentle when you teach us to live
Beautiful, breathless, ballad-like words that remind us that we writers hold the human experience in our hands like butterflies – and must set it free. Write on.