Jan 032013
 

It’s only one of the best poems ever composed in Hebrew or any other language. No pressure.

Ḥayim Naḥman Bialik (1873 – 1934)
With the Sun’s Fading Glimmer

With the sun’s fading glimmer, to the window draw nearer
And then lean on my shoulder,
To my neck cling steadfastly, place your head against my head —
And to me cling so firmly.

And desirous, embracing, towards the terrible radiance
We will raise our eyes, silent;
And on these seas of luster, we’ve sent forth unto freedom
All our hearts’ deepest musings.

And they’ve risen towards heaven, as if doves in flight bustling.
They’ll sail off in the distance, and vanish;
And upon purple ridges, crimson islands of radiance,
They will sink down in silence.

They’re the most distant islands, worlds high and unreachable,
That we see while we’re dreaming;
That have made us like strangers beneath all the high heavens,
And our lives — to Gehinnom.

They’re the most golden islands, for which we’ve always thirsted
Like one thirsts for a homeland;
That to us have been hinted by the stars of the evening
In a ray of light, trembling.

And upon them we’ve lingered without friend or companion
As if two desert flowers;
As if two lost souls seeking a loss more eternal
In a land strange and foreign.

חיים נחמן ביאליק
עם דמדומי החמה


עִם דִּמְדּוּמֵי הַחַמָּה אֶל-הַחַלּוֹן נָא-גשִׁי
וְעָלַי הִתְרַפָּקִי,
לִפְתִי הֵיטֵב צַוָּארִי, שִׂימִי רֹאשֵׁךְ עַל-רֹאשִׁי –
וְכֹה עִמִּי תִדְבָּקִי.

וּמְחֻשָּׁקִים וּדְבֵקִים, אֶל-הַזֹּהַר הַנּוֹרָא
דּוּמָם נִשָּׂא עֵינֵינוּ;
וְשִׁלַּחְנוּ לַחָפְשִׁי עַל-פְּנֵי יַמֵּי הָאוֹרָה
כָּל-הִרְהוּרֵי לִבֵּנוּ.

וְהִתְנַשְּׂאוּ לַמָּרוֹם בִּיעָף שׁוֹקֵק כַּיּוֹנִים,
וּבַמֶּרְחָק יַפְלִיגוּ, יֹאבֵדוּ;
וְעַל-פְּנֵי רֻכְסֵי אַרְגָּמָן, אִיֵּי-זֹהַר אַדְמוֹנִים,
בִּיעָף דּוּמָם יֵרֵדוּ.

הֵם הָאִיִּים הָרְחוֹקִים, הָעוֹלָמוֹת הַגְּבֹהִים
זוּ בַחֲלוֹמוֹת רְאִינוּם;
שֶׁעָשׂוּנוּ לְגֵרִים תַּחַת כָּל-הַשָּׁמָיִם,
וְחַיֵּינוּ – לְגֵיהִנֹּם.

הֵמָּה אִיֵּי-הַזָּהָב זוּ צָמֵאנוּ אֲלֵיהֶם
כְּאֶל אֶרֶץ מוֹלֶדֶת;
שֶׁכָּל-כּוֹכְבֵי הַלַּיִל רָמְזוּ לָנוּ עֲלֵיהֶם
בְּאוֹר קֶרֶן רוֹעֶדֶת.

וַעֲלֵיהֶם נִשְׁאַרְנוּ בְּלִי-רֵעַ וְעָמִית
כִּשְׁנֵי פְרָחִים בַּצִּיָּה;
כִּשְׁנֵי אֹבְדִים הַמְבַקְשִׁים אֲבֵדָה עוֹלָמִית
עַל-פְּנֵי אֶרֶץ נָכְרִיָּה.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Im dimdúmei ha-khámoh el ha-kháloyn no-góyshi
Ve-alái hisrapóki,
Lífsi héiteiv tzavóri, sími róysheikh al róyshi —
Ve-khóy ími sidbóki.

Umkhushókim udvéikim, el ha-zóyhar ha-nóyro
Dúmom níso einéinu;
Ve-shilákhnu la-khófshi al-pnéi yámei ho-óyroh
Kol hirhúrei libéinu.

Ve-hisnásu la-móroym bi’óf shóykeik ka-yóynim,
U-va-mérkhak yaflígu, yoyvéidu;
Ve-al-pnéi rúkhsei argómon, íyei zóyhar admóynim,
Bi’óf dúmom yeiréidu.

Heim ho-íyim horkhóykim, ho-oylómoys hagvóyhim
Zu vakhalóymoys re’ínum;
She-asúnu le-géirim tákhas kol ha-shomóyim,
Ve-khayéinu — le-geihínoym.

Héimah íyei ha-zóhov zu tzoméinu aléihem
Ke’él éretz moylédes;
She-kól kóykhvei ha-láyil rómzu lónu aléihem
Be-óyr kéren royédes.

Va-aléihem nishárnu bli réi’a ve-ómis
Kishnéi frókhim ba-tzíyoh;
Kishnéi óyvdim hamvákshim avéidoh oylómis
Al pnéi éretz nokhríyoh.

  One Response to “Ḥayim Naḥman Bialik, “`Im Dimdumei ha-Ḥamah””

  1. וְעָלַי should be “ve-olay” with rounded qamats
    Ditto with וּבַמֶּרְחָק = uvamérkhok
    שֶׁעָשׂוּנוּ = she’osúnu
    הֵמָּה = héymo

    When Ashkenazi secular poetry is (or rather was) recited, begedkefet spirantization didn’t always occur across word boundaries where the standard niqud led one to expect it. Bialik would probably have pronounced עִמִּי תִדְבָּקִי as ími tidbóki. Another poem of his poems is known to have been read as “loy beyoym veloy balaylo” rather than “loy veyoym veloy valaylo.”

    Hataf vowels may be elided in Ashkenazic poetic recitation in many positions. So זוּ בַחֲלוֹמוֹת רְאִינוּם = zu bakhlóymoys (or in this case possibly vakhlóymoys) reínum.

    Bialik was a metrical stickler, and my sense is that לְגֵיהִנֹּם is presumably to be read as trisyllabic and not tetrasyllabic. So either as l-geyhinom (with /l/ pronounced as part of the preceding syllable) or, less likely, as legéynom or legínom or the like without pronouncing the H (but more in keeping with the word’s reflex in Yiddish.)

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