Oct 222012

One of the earlier Andalusian Hebrew poets tackles the weighty subject of hollering at a girl when she’s surrounded by her family, whose probably strapping and numerous men doubtless have a taste for the blood of poets. (Would you let your daughter marry one?) The more modern problem of hollering at a girl when she’s surrounded by her girlfriends, however, remains without its complementary Hebrew opus. Where’s the poem about that, ya ibn Khalfun?

Yitzḥak ibn Khalfun (960? – 1020?)
When Desire Arouses

When desire arouses, I bound like a deer / to gaze at the eyes of my love,
But when I arrive, there’s her mother before her / all the men of her family too!
I quickly behold her then turn back around / as if I weren’t her love, her only one.
Of them I’m afraid, but for her my heart is like that / of a woman bereft of her son!

יצחק אבן כלפון / إسحاق ابن خلفون
בעת חשק יעירני

בְּעֵת חֵשֶׁק יְעִירֵנִי, אֲדַלֵּג / כְּאַיָל לַחֲזוֹת עֵינֵי כְבוּדָּה,
וְאָבוֹאָה, וְהֵן אִמָּהּ לְנֶגְדָּהּ / וְאָבִיהָ וְאָחִיהָ וְדוֹדָהּ.
אֲשׁוּרֶנָּהּ, וְאֶפְנֶה לַאֲחוֹרָי / כְּאִלּוּ לֹא אֲנִי רֵעָהּ יְדִידָהּ.
יָרֵא מֵהֶם, וְעָלֶיהָ לְבָבִי / כְּלֵב אִשָּׁה מְשַׁכֶּלֶת יְחִידָהּ.


Be-ʕéit ḥéishek yeʕiréini, ‘adaléig / ke-‘ayál laḥazót ʕeinéi khevudáh,
Ve-‘avó’ah, ve-héin ‘imáh le-negdáh / ve-‘avíha ve-‘aḥíha ve-dodáh.
‘Ashurénah, ve-‘efnéh la-‘aḥorái / ke-‘ílu lo ‘aní reiʕáh yedidáh.
Yaréi mei-hém, ve-ʕaléha levaví / ke-léiv ‘isháh meshakélet yeḥidáh.

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