People of the Earth – Poem

This is an appeal, a call to the people of the earth and is a collaborative artwork that evolved as a response to the very difficult times we live in.

It was inspired by the poem, People of the Earth (Völker der Erde), by Nelly Sachs written in 1948/1949. In a relatively short poem, Nelly Sachs finds a mysterious way of appealing to us, of reminding us of the source of language, of the sounds that created the world, that are the source of our breath – the cosmic Logos (Logos = Word in Greek).

In our time, and in our ‘descent’ into materialism, the creative Word is in danger of being lost in the ‘buzz’ of chatter, quick bites of information on social media, in the lies of media and politicians with their mostly untrue narratives, in the language of hate and divisiveness, which attempt to separate us – and it is also a time in which heart to heart conversations, of listening and speaking become increasingly difficult.

It has currently been translated into Russian, English, Spanish, Ukrainian and German (original). It will be available in many other languages shortly – like (and not limited to) Zulu and Afrikaans.

Christine Howard is leading this project, and is asking for people to help with translations. You can contact her via the Hahnkultur website here. Both Easter videos can be viewed there: 1) LOGOS – People of the Earth and 2) In the beginning was the Word.

Here is the poem for you:

People of the Earth

A poem by Nelly Sachs

People of the earth
you, who entwine yourselves
like spools of thread,
in the power of unknown stars,
you who sew and then unravel the stitching,
you who enter the confusion of speaking
as in hives of bees
to sting in the sweetness
and get stung.

People of the earth,
do not destroy the words of the cosmos,
do not slice with knives of hatred,
the sound,
that was born when breath was born.

People of the earth,
O … that no one means death,
when they say life –
and mean not blood,
when they say cradle –

People of the earth,
leave the words at their source,
for it is through them
that the horizons can move into the true heavens
and with their night facing sides
like a mask behind which the night yawns
they help the stars give birth –

Translated from the German by Christine Howard

Enjoy this reading of the poem here:

CONCEPT & ARTWORK: poem (original German), first video (German), music and art piece Andreas Hahn (Hahnkultur)
VIDEO Production, project development & texts by Christine Howard

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