Nov 112012
 

Wine poem! Never fear — I am drinking wine. It’s even raining at the moment, and indeed, Av, Elul and Tishrei have come and gone. How appropriate. Does anyone else think this poem is a fitting thematic basis for a maudlin Southern rock song, or is that the wine talking?

Shmuel ha-Nagid (993 – 1056?)
Av Is Dead, So Too Elul

Av is dead, so too Elul, no longer will they warm —
So too was Tishrei1 gathered unto them.2
And so the must, its voice gone dumb,
Turns red now in the barrel — the days of cold have come.
And seek you now, O friend of mine, companions fast and firm —
And every man shall bring about his aim!
Behold the rain-filled clouds now, they exclaim:
Hear the heavens thunder in their storm,
Behold the frost, the tongues of flame —
How one will fall, the other rise and climb.
Stand up and drain a cup, drain a pitcher with aplomb,
By night, perforce — by day do just the same!

שמואל הנגיד / إسماعيل بن النغريلة
מת אב ומת אלול

 
מֵת אָב וּמֵת אֵלוּל, וּמֵת חֻמָּם / גַּם נֶאֱסַף תִּשְׁרֵי וּמֵת עִמָּם,
בָּאוּ יְמֵי הַקֹּר, וְהַתִּירוֹשׁ / אָדַם וְקוֹלוֹ בַכְּלִי דָמַם.
לָכֵן, יְדִידִי, סֹב אֱלֵי רֵעִים / כָּל אִישׁ וְאִישׁ יַעַשׂ אֲשֶׁר זָמַם!
אָמְרוּ: חֲזֵה עָבִים בְּהַגְשִׁימָם / וּשְׁמַע שְׁמֵי מָרוֹם בְּהַרְעִימָם
וּרְאֵה כְפוֹר וּלְשׁוֹן מְדוּרָה – זֶה / יֵרֵד וְזֶה יַעַל וְיִתְרוֹמָם.
קוּמָה, שְׁתֵה בַכּוֹס וְשׁוּב וּשְׁתֵה / בַכַּד, וּבַלַּיִל וְגַם יוֹמָם!
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Meit ‘av u-méit ‘elúl u-méit ḥumám / gam ne’esáf tishréi u-méit ʕimám,
Ba’ú yeméi ha-kór, ve-ha-tirósh / ‘adám ve-koló ba-klí damám.
Lakhéin, yedidí, sov ‘eléi reiʕím / kol ‘ish va-‘ísh yaʕás ‘ashér zamám!
‘Amrú: ḥazéh ʕavím be-hagshimám / u-shemáʕ sheméi maróm be-harʕimám
U-re’éh khefór u-leshón meduráh — zeh / yeiréid ve-zéh yaʕál ve-yitromám.
Kúmah, shtéih va-kós ve-shúv ushtéih / va-kád, u-va-láyil ve-gám yomám!

  1. Av, Elul and Tishrei are the late summer months, roughly from late July to late September.
  2. In Hebrew, being gathered unto one’s people or one’s fathers is a common euphemism for death. See Judges 2:10.

  One Response to “Shmuel ha-Nagid, “Meit Av u-Meit Eilul””

  1. Yup, you hit the nail on the head. This ‘un would be sung by Warren Haynes.

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