Nov 082012
 

After giving a presentation on Andalusian Hebrew poetry, I told my TA that there were some rather explicit Moshe ibn Ezra poems I had not included because part of their shock value lay in playing with Biblical references that would have gone over the heads of my audience (and it’s never fun to have to explain the joke). Here’s one of them!

Moshe ibn Ezra (1060? – 1140?)
Caress the Lovely Girl’s Breasts

Caress the lovely girl’s breasts all through the night
And kiss the lovely girl’s lips all through the day’s light!

And rebuke your opponents, who advise you predictably;
Heed what comes from my mouth, the purest integrity:
There’s no living apart from the children of beauty,
Who were stolen from Eden to put man to the fire —
Can there be men alive who know not desire?

So pour out your heart into gladness and love,
And alongside flowing streams, drink skins full of
wine; to the sounds of the lyre, the swift and the dove,
May you dance and exult, and clap your hands as well —
Get drunk and knock at the door of the graceful gazelle!1

From the most wonderful thing in the world take your portion,
As the priests took their due from the ram of consecration,2
And take what is yours, as did the righteous heads of your nation:
Never fear to suck at the lips, the spit and the rest —
‘Til you take hold of what’s yours: the thigh and the breast!

משה אבן עזרא / موسى ابن عزرا
דדי יפת תואר ליל חבוק

 
דַּדֵּי יְפַת תֹּאַר לַיִל חֲבֹק
וּשְׂפַת יְפַת מַרְאֶה יוֹמָם נְשֹׁק!
 
וּגְעַר בְּכָל מֵרִיב, יוֹעֵץ לְפִי
דַּרְכּוֹ, וְקַח יֹשֶׁר נִמְצָא בְּפִי:
אֵין הַחֲיוֹת רַק עִם יַלְדֵי יֹפִי,
כִּי גֻנְּבוּ מֵעֵדֶן לַעֲשֹׁק
חַיִּים — וְאֵין אִישׁ חַי לֹא יַחֲשֹׁק!
 
נַסֵּךְ לְבָבְךָ בִּשְׂמָחוֹת וְשִׂישׂ
וּשְׂתֵה עֲלֵי יֵבֶל נֵבֶל עֲסִיס
יַיִן, לְקוֹל נֵבֶל עִם תּוֹר וְסִיס,
וּרְקֹד וְגִיל, גַּם כַּף עַל כַּף סְפֹק,
וּשְׁכַר וְדֶלֶת יַעְלַת חֵן דְּפֹק.
 
זֶה הוּא נְעִים תֵּבֵל — קַח חֶלְקְךָ
מֶנּוּ כְּאֵיל מִלּוּאִים, חָקְךָ
שִׂימָה מְנַת רָאשֵׁי עַם צִדְקְךָ:
אַל תֶּחֱשֶׁה לִמְצֹץ שָׂפָה וְרֹק,
עַד תֶּאֱחֹז חָקְךָ — חָזֶה וְשׁוֹק!
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Dadéi yefát tó’ar láyil ḥavók
U-sefát yefát mar’éh yomám neshók!

U-geʕár be-khól meirív, yoʕéitz lefí
Darkó, ve-káḥ yósher nimtzá be-fí:
‘Ein ha-ḥayót rak ʕim yaldéi yófi,
Ki gunvú mei-ʕéiden laʕashók
Ḥayím — ve-‘éin ‘ish ḥai lo yaḥashók!

Naséikh levavkhá bismaḥót ve-sís
Ushtéh ʕaléi yéivel néivel ʕasís
Yáyin, le-kól néivel ʕim tor va-sís,
U-rekód va-gíl, gam kaf ʕal kaf sefók,
U-shekhár ve-délet yaʕlát ḥein defók.

Zeh hu neʕím teivéil — kaḥ ḥelkekhá
Ménu ke-‘éil milu’ím, ḥokekhá
Símah menát rashéi ʕam tzidkekhá:
‘Al teḥesháh limtzótz safáh va-rók,
ʕad te’eḥóz ḥokekhá — ḥazéh ve-shók!

  1. “Knocking” and “door” both have highly sexual connotations in Hebrew. The word “door” or “entranceway” is often used euphemistically for the female genitalia.
  2. Leviticus 8:22.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)

Are you a Russian spam robot? Prove it: *