Oct 072012
 

To understand the significance and symbolic import of the mysterious city of Tarshish in Hebrew poetry and literature throughout the ages, it would be best to start with the Book of Jonah. Then continue on to everything else.

Shimon Halkin (1899 – 1987)
Towards Tarshish

An elegy won’t grieve her voice in streams of southern light
Even wrapped in cloud as fine as ash, scattered and dilute.
Why stir within me, O my heart, as my day sinks towards night,
A keening song, young and surging, sobbing like a flute?
Beyond horizons, at land’s end, the pines are all astir
Beyond horizons, at land’s end, done are all the years that were.
Why are you roused beyond all knowing, O heart that once was mute?

The month of Sivan with its heat pushed back a sickened sea
Algae coated twisted fangs of rock as sharp as stakes
In bewitchèd twilight Jonah stumbles towards the quay
To the ship sent by a god who only parches, never slakes,
He too yearned for the sea, a hooked fish hauled up on the dock,
And never did he split his weary head against the rock:
At the edge of the abyss, towards Tarshish the heart yet quakes!

O my Tarshish, yes, even now, are you not still there
And even now to me the forests of your pine trees pray
In the heart of black-winged winter, snows blowing through the air

A hungry wolf stalks your mountains, too desperate to bay.
And when summer blooms within you, I, an outsider in my veins,
Will fly back to your bosom’s cold alongside flocks of cranes
Who scented from afar the reeds that on your lakeshores sway.

שמעון הלקין
תרשישה

 
אֱלֵגִיָּה לֹא תַעְגֵּם קוֹלָהּ בְּשֶׁפֶךְ אוֹר דְּרוֹמִי,
לוּ גַם לוּט עָב תָּחוּחַ, דַּק כָּאֵפֶר הַדָּלִיל.
מַה-כֵּן אֵפוֹא נִרְעַשְׁתָּ בִּי, לִבִּי, בִּנְטוֹת יוֹמִי
וְשֶׁוַע שִׁיר תִּדְרֹשׁ צָעִיר, יִבְקַע, יֵבְךְּ כֶּחָלִיל?
בַּמֶּרְחַקִּים, בִּקְצֵה הָאָרֶץ, יָשֹׁקּוּ אֳרָנִים,
בַּמֶּרְחַקִּים, בִּקְצֵה הָאָרֶץ, תַּמּוּ הַשָּׁנִים.
מָה הֱקִיצוֹתָ, לֶב-לִבִּי, עַד לֹא תִדְמֶה כָּלִיל?
 
שְׁרַב-סִיבָן הִרְתִּיעַ יָם חוֹלֶה אֲחוֹרַנִּית
וְנֶחְשְׂפָה הַיְּרוֹקָה עַל שֶׁן-צוֹק נַעֲוֶה.
בְּאוֹר-עַרְבַּיִם מְכֻשָּׁף פֹּה אָץ מְעֹדַנִּית
יוֹנָה אֶל הַסְּפִינָה מֵאֵל מַצְמִיא וְלֹא יְרַוֶּה,
גַּם הוּא לַיָּם עָרַג, דָּג הֶעֱלַתּוּ הַחַכָּה,
וְאֶת רֹאשׁוֹ יָגֵע אֶל הַסֶּלַע לֹא בָקַע:
תַּרְשִׁישָׁה, לֵב פּוֹתֶה, עַל פִּי הַתְּהוֹם עוֹד יְקַוֶּה!
 
תַּרְשִׁישׁ שֶׁלִּי, הֲלֹא יֵשֵׁךְ עַתָּה, בְּרֶגַע זֶה,
וְיַעַר-אֳרָנַיִךְ בְּרֶגַע זֶה לִי יְפַלֵּל.
בְּחֹרֶף שְׁחוֹר-כְּנָפַיִם, בְּעַב-הַשֶּׁלֶג, זְאֵב רָזֶה
 
בְּמִדְרוֹנֵי הָרַיִךְ נָע, נוֹאָשׁ גַּם מִיַּלֵּל.
וְקַיִץ כִּי יָנוּב בָּךְ, עַגְמוּמִי תָּמִיד וָזָר,
אָשׁוּב אֶל קֹר חֵיקֵךְ עִם עֵדֶר עֲגוּרִים, חָזַר
בַּהֲרִיחוֹ רָחוֹק סוּף-אֲגַמַּיִךְ הַמְמַלֵּל.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

‘Eléigiyah lo taʕgéim koláh be-shéfekh ‘or dromí,
lu gam lut ʕav taḥúaḥ, dak ka-‘éifer ha-dalíl.
Mah kein ‘eifó nirʕáshta bi, libí, bintót yomí
ve-shévaʕ shir tidrósh tzaʕír, yivkáʕ, yeivk ke-ḥalíl?
Ba-merḥakím, biktzéh ha-‘áretz, yashóku ‘oraním,
ba-merḥakím, biktzéh ha-‘áretz, támu ha-shaním.
Mah hekitzóta, lev libí, ʕad lo tidméh kalíl?

Shrav-siván hirtíʕa yam ḥoléh ‘aḥoranít
Ve-neḥsefáh ha-yerokáh ʕal shen tzok naʕavéh.
Be-‘ór ʕarbáyim mekhusháf poh ‘atz meʕodanít
Yonáh ‘el ha-sefináh mei-‘éil matzmí ve-ló yeravéh,
gam hu la-yám ʕarág, dag heʕelátu ha-ḥakáh,
ve-‘ét roshó yagéiʕ ‘el ha-sélaʕ lo vakáʕ:
Tarshísha, leiv potéh, ʕal pi ha-tehóm ʕod yekavéh!

Tarshísh shelí, ha-ló yeishéikh ʕatáh, be-régaʕ zeh,
ve-yáʕar ‘oranáyikh be-régaʕ zeh li yefaléil.
Be-ḥóref sheḥór kenafáyim, be-ʕáv ha-shéleg ze’éiv razéh

be-midronéi haráyikh naʕ, no’ásh gam mi-yaléil.
Ve-káyitz ki yanúv bakh, ʕagmumí tamíd va-zár,
‘ashúv ‘el kor ḥeikéikh ʕim ʕéider ʕagurím, ḥazár
ba-hariḥó raḥók suf ‘agamáyikh ha-memaléil.

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