Nov 132012
 

The true tragedy of Zionism: we’ve turned the Druze into Jews. Poor Druze. Sorry, Druze!

Naim Araidi (1950 – )
I Returned to the Village

I returned to the village
in which I first learned to cry
I returned to the mountain
from which the view is nature
and there’s no room for a picture
I returned to my house, made of stones
which my forefathers hewed from boulders
I returned to myself —
and that was the idea.

I returned to the village.
for I’d dreamt about a hard birth
of the za’atar forgotten from my poetic lexicon
and an even harder birth
of stalks of grain in bumpy, neglected ground
for I dreamt about the birth of love.

I returned to the village
in which I was, in a former incarnation,
the root of ten thousand grapevines
on this good land
until that wind came
and cast me far away, and sent me back
in this incarnation like a ḥozer bitshuvah.1

Oh, my dream, thirty-second in number
here are the paths that are no longer
and the houses that grew tall as the Tower of Babel
Oh, this heavy dream of mine—
No shoot will sprout from its roots!

Where are the children of poverty,
torn of autumn leaves?
Where is my village that once was
where the paths that became streets of asphalt
were given names?

Oh, my little village that became
a civilized town.
I returned to the village
in which the dogs’ barking had died out
and the dovecote had become a lit-up tower.
All the fellahin with whom I wanted to sing
the hay-song in the nightingale’s2 tune,
had become workers, smoke in their throats
where are all those who once were and are no longer?

Oh, this heavy dream of mine
I returned to the village
like someone fleeing from civilization
and came to the village
like coming from exile to exile.

נעים עריידי / نعيم عرايدي
חזרתי אל הכפר

 
חָזַרְתִּי אֶל הַכְּפָר
בּוֹ יָדַעְתִּי לִבְכּוֹת בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה
חָזַרְתִּי אֶל הָהָר
בּוֹ הַנּוֹף הוּא הַטֶּבַע
וְאֵין מָקוֹם לִתְמוּנָה
חָזַרְתִּי אֶל בֵּיתִי הֶעָשׂוּי אֲבָנִים
אוֹתָן חָצְבוּ אֲבוֹתַי מִסְּלָעִים
חָזַרְתִּי אֶל עַצְמִי —
וְזוֹ הָיְתָה הַכַּוָּנָה.
 
חָזַרְתִּי אֶל הַכְּפָר.
כִּי חָלָמְתִּי עַל הֻלֶּדֶת קָשָׁה
שֶׁל הַזַּעְתָּר הַנִּשְׁכָּח מִמִּלוֹנִי הַשִּׁירִי
וְעַל הֻלֶּדֶת קָשָׁה יוֹתֵר
שֶׁל שִׁבֳּלִים בַּאֲדָמָה חַתְחַתִּית עֲזוּבָה
כִּי חָלָמְתִּי עַל הֻלַּדְתָּהּ שֶׁל אַהֲבָה.
 
חָזַרְתִּי אֶל הַכְּפָר
בּוֹ הָיִיתִי בְּגִלְגּוּל קוֹדֵם
שֹׁרֶשׁ מִנִּי רִבּוֹא הַגְּפָנִים
עַל הָאֲדָמָה הַטּוֹבָה
עַד שֶׁבָּאָה הָרוּחַ הַזֹאת
וַתִּדְפֵנִי רָחוֹק וַתַּחֲזִירֵנִי
בְּגִלְגּוּלִי כְּחוֹזֵר בִּתְשׁוּבָה.
 
הוֹי חֲלוֹמִי הַשְּׁלֹשִׁים וּשְׁנַיִם בְּמִסְפָּר
הִנֵּה הַשְּׁבִילִים שֶׁאֵינָם
וּבָתִּים שֶׁגָּבְהוּ כְּמִגְדַּל בָּבֶל
הוֹי חֲלוֹמִי הַכָּבֵד הַזֶּה —
נֵצֶר מִשֳּׁרָשַׁיךָ לֹא יִפְרֶה!
 
הֵיכָן הֵם יַלְדֵּי הַעֹנִי
קְרוּעֵי־עֲלֵי־הַשַּׁלֶּכֶת?
הֵיכָן כְּפָרִי שֶׁהָיָה
וּבוֹ נִתְּנוּ שֵׁמוֹת לַשְּׁבִילִים
שֶׁהָיוּ לִכְבִישֵׁי אַסְפַלְט?
 
הוֹי כְּפָרִי הַקָּטָן שֶׁהָיָה
לַעֲיָרָה מְתֻרְבֶּתֶת
חָזַרְתִּי אֶל הַכְּפָר
בּוֹ גָּוְעוּ נְבִיחוֹת הַכְּלָבִים
וְהַשּׁוֹבָךְ נַעֲשָֹה מִגְדָּל מוּאָר.
כָּל הַפַלָּחִים שֶׁרָצִיתִי לָשִׁיר אִתָּם
שִׁירַת חָצִיר בְּמַנְגִּינַת הַזָּמִיר
נַעֲשׂוּ פּוֹעֲלִים וְעָשָׁן בִּגְרוֹנָם
הֵיכָן כָּל אֵלֶּה שֶׁהָיוּ וְאֵינָם?
 
הוֹ חֲלוֹמִי הַכָּבֵד הַזֶּה
חָזַרְתִּי אֶל הַכְּפָר
כְּבוֹרֵחַ מִפְּנֵי הַתַּרְבּוּת
וּבָאתִי אֶל הַכְּפָר
כְּמִי שֶׁבָּא מִגָּלּוּת אֶל גָּלוּת.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Ḥazárti ‘el ha-kefár
Bo yadáʕti livkót ba-rishonáh
Ḥazárti ‘el ha-hár
Bo ha-nóf hu ha-tévaʕ
Ve-‘éin makóm litmunáh
Ḥazárti ‘el beití he-ʕasúi ‘avaním
‘Otán ḥatzvú ‘avotái mi-selaʕím
Ḥazárti ‘el ʕatzmí —
Ve-zó hayetáh ha-kavanáh.

Ḥazárti ‘el ha-kefár.
Ki ḥalámti ʕal hulédet kasháh
Shel ha-záʕtar ha-nishkáḥ mi-miloní ha-shirí
Ve-ʕal hulédet kasháh yotéir
Shel shibolím ba-‘adamáh ḥatḥatít ʕazuváh
Ki ḥalámti ʕal huladetáh shel ‘ahaváh.

Ḥazárti ‘el ha-kefár
Bo hayíti be-gilgúl kodéim
Shóresh miní ribó ha-gefaním
ʕal ha-‘adamáh ha-továh
ʕad she-bá’ah ha-rúaḥ ha-zót
Va-tidféini raḥók va-taḥaziréini
Be-gilgulí ke-ḥozéir bitshuváh.

Hoi ḥalomí ha-sheloshím u-shnáyim be-mispár
Híneh ha-shvilím she-‘éinam
U-vatím she-gavhú ke-migdál bável
Hoi ḥalomí ha-kavéid ha-zéh —
Néitzer mi-shorashékha lo yifréh!

Heikhán heim yaldéi ha-ʕóni
Keruʕéi-ʕaléi-shalékhet?
Heikhán kefarí she-hayáh
U-vó nitnú sheimót la-shvilím
She-hayú likhvishéi ‘ásfalt?

Hoi kefarí ha-katán she-hayáh
La-ʕayaráh meturbétet
Ḥazárti ‘el ha-kefár
Bo gavʕú neviḥót ha-kelavím
Ve-ha-shovákh naʕasáh migdál mu’ár.
Kol ha-falaḥím she-ratzíti lashír ‘itám
Shirát ḥatzír be-manginát ha-zamír
Naʕasú poʕalím ve-ʕashán bigronám
Heikhán kol ‘éileh she-hayú ve-‘éinam?

Ho ḥalomí ha-kavéid ha-zéh
Ḥazárti ‘el ha-kefár
Ke-voréiaḥ mipnéi ha-tarbút
U-váti ‘el ha-kefár
Ke-mí she-bá mi-galút ‘el galút.

  1. “One who returns in penitence.” A Jewish-Israeli term for a Jew who assumes (or resumes) traditional religious observance (a “born-again” Jew). English-speaking Jews tend to call these people baalei teshuvah. Either way, Araidi, a non-Jew, is playing with specifically Jewish terminology which doesn’t translate well to English.
  2. The word zamir has two meanings: “nightingale” and “grapevine pruning.” Given the context, either seem possible here (“the melody of the zamir“). Araidi is most assuredly sufficiently Hebrew-literate to be aware of both meanings; furthermore, the Song of Songs seems to play with this same dual meaning in 2:12.

  2 Responses to “Naim Araidi, “Ḥazarti el ha-Kfar””

  1. Fine translation. I guess one can never go home. What does tidfeni actually mean? It is it like tidkhefeni?

  2. I think Araidi is doing that “see, I’ve read all your books” thing: “כי אם המוץ אשר תדפנו רוח,” Psalms 1:4. It’s נדף, to scatter or toss about.

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