Nov 302012
 

You know all those sonnets about beautiful girls? This is not one of those sonnets.

Immanuel of Rome (1261 – 1328)
O Creative Intelligence

O creative intelligence! When you created
The daughter of Gershom, you shamed all creation,
Because in her form sheer disgrace you perfected;
You dreamed about scorn, she’s your interpretation

Could it be you had vowed to collect all disgrace,
Or maybe an owl or ape was your thinking —
What mad dream is this? Could it well be the case
That your senses left you — or were you just drinking?

So tell me, O angel,1 pray, were your engraver
And your precious calipers stolen from you?
Were you forced to assemble the girl with a spade?

Or did heaven’s stars rise together against her?
Were Cancer and Scorpio, both of them too
‘Midst the spheres at the tail of Draco arrayed?2

עמנואל הרומי
שכל מצייר

 
שֵׂכֶל מְצַיֵּר יוֹם אֲשֶׁר צִיָּרְתָּ
בַּת-גֵּרְשֹׁם כָּל הַיְקוּם הִכְלַמְתָּ
יַעַן בְּגִשְׁמָהּ כָּל גְּנוּת הִשְׁלַמְתָּ
כִּי בָּא חֲלוֹם הַבּוּז וְאַתְּ פָּתָרְתָּ
 
אוּלַי לְקַבֵּץ כָּל גְּנוּת נָדַרְתָּ
אוֹ לַעֲשׂוֹת יַנְשׁוֹף וְקוֹף יָזָמְתָּ
מָה הַחֲלוֹם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר חָלָמְתָּ
אִם רוּחֲךָ סָרָה וְאִם שָׁכָרְתָּ
 
הַגֵּד כְּרוּב מִמְשַׁח הֲאִם הַשֶּׂרֶד
אוֹ הַמְּחוּגָה מִמְּךָ גֻנָּבוּ
וַתַּעֲשֶׂה בַּת-גֵּרְשֹׁם בָּרָחַת
 
אוֹ פָעֲלוּ בָהּ כּוֹכְבֵי רוֹם מֶרֶד
סַרְטָן וְעַקְרָב אִם אֲזַי נִצָּבוּ
בִּזְנַב תְּלִי בַּמַּעֲלָה צֹמָחַת?
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Séikhel metzayéir yom ‘ashér tziyárta
Bat geirshóm kol ha-yekúm hikhlámta
Yáʕan be-gishmáh kol genút hishlámta
Ki ba ḥalóm ha-búz ve-‘át patárta

‘Ulái lekabéitz kol genút nadárta
‘O laʕasót yanshóf ve-kóf yazámta
Mah ha-ḥalóm ha-zéh ‘ashér ḥalámta
‘Im ruḥakhá saráh ve-‘ím shakhárta

Hagéid kerúv mimsháḥ ha-ím ha-séred
‘O ha-meḥugáh mimkhá gunávu
Va-taʕaséh bat-geirshóm ba-ráḥat

‘O paʕalú vah kokhvéi rom méred
Sartán ve-ʕakráv ‘im ‘azái nitzávu
Biznáv telí ba-maʕaláh tzomáḥat?

  1. The Hebrew says kerúv ha-mimsháḥ, which comes from Ezekiel 28:14. The meaning of mimsháḥ is not entirely clear (it’s a hapax), but in any case, Immanuel here is talking to the angel in charge of physically assembling human bodies.
  2. Apparently, this is one of those infelicitous astrological occurrences. The fuck do I know about astrology?

  One Response to “Immanuel of Rome, “Seikhel Metzayeir””

  1. And she smells bad.

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