Dec 052012

I’m so tired, you guys. But even when I have midrashic commentaries to translate or naps to take, I cannot forsake the Hebrew poem. So have a tajnis, dammit. This is a clever one. The Key Word in this one is the verb raʕah, which can mean “to shepherd” and “to befriend.”

Moshe ibn Ezra (1060? – 1140?)
How My Heart Now Yearns

How my heart now yearns for the proud gazelle —
  Ere his birth, it was his shepherd,
Since the day he left, his eyes taste no sleep,
  And he befriends the heavens’ fool.1

משה אבן עזרא / موسى ابن عزرا
לבי לבי הומה לצבי

לִבִּי לִבִּי הוֹמֶה לִצְבִי / טֶרֶם נִבְרָא הוּא לוֹ רוֹעֶה,
מִיּוֹם נוּדוֹ לֹא טָעַם נוּם / עֵינוֹ , וּכְסִיל שַׁחַק רוֹעֶה.


Libí libí homéh litzví / térem nivrá hu lo roʕéh
Mi-yóm nudó lo taʕám num / ʕeinó u-khesíl sháḥak roʕéh.

  1. This is really clever. Ibn Ezra quotes Proverbs 13:20 (“he who becomes a companion of fools shall be destroyed”) while playing with the dual meaning of kesíl (“fool”), which happens to be the Hebrew name for the constellation Orion — that is, “the heavens’ fool”.

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