I enjoyed last night’s song-and-translation exercise so much I thought, “Why stop there?” This is a fantastic nature poem whose striking imagery seems like it could have been taken from a 20th century poem as easily as an 11th century one. Ibn Gabirol’s imagery often appears much less convention-bound than that of his contemporaries. The Hebrew is full of internal rhymes and alliteration that can’t be rendered in English (oh, to have Hebrew’s many potential morphological rhymes), but for that, you can listen to Berry Sakharof’s version.
Speaking of which, the album these songs are coming from is called Adumei ha-Sefatot (“Those Red of Lips”). You can purchase and download the album here. Berry’s pretty hi-tech: you can choose a variety of audio formats (I got FLAC and converted it to MP3 for the blog because I am a nerd), and all the songs even come with vowelled lyric files that’ll show up in your audio player. Nice touch. So give Berry a little walkin’-around money.Berry Sakharof and Rea Mokhiach - Katav Stav
Winter wrote with the ink of its rains and its showers,
With the pen of its brilliant lightning, with the hand of its clouds,
A letter on the garden in blue and in purple —
Their like was never devised by the thoughts of a thinker
So when the earth grew to covet the face of the sky
Upon the garden beds’ fabric it wove its own stars.
כָּתַב סְתָיו בִּדְיוֹ מְטָרָיו וּבִרְבִיבָיו
וּבְעֵט בְּרָקָיו הַמְּאִירִים וְכַף עָבָיו
מִכְתָּב עֲלֵי גַן מִתְּכֵלֶת וְאַרְגָּמָן
לֹא נִתְכְּנוּ כָהֵם לְחֹשֵב בְּמַחְשָׁבָיו
לָכֵן בְּעֵת חָמְדָה אֲדָמָה פְּנֵי שַׁחַק
רָקְמָה עֲלֵי בַדֵּי עֲרוּגוֹת כְּכוֹכָבָיו.
Katáv setáv bi-dyó metaráv u-virviváv
U-ve-ʕéit berakáv ha-me’irím ve-kháf ʕaváv
Mikhtáv ʕaléi gan mi-tekhélet ve-‘argamán
Lo nitkenú khahéim le-ḥoshéiv be-maḥshaváv
Lakhén be-ʕéit ḥamdáh ‘adamáh penéi sháḥak
Rakmáh ʕaléi vadéi ʕarugót ke-khokhaváv.