Jan 092013
 

Is it okay to write sonnets in English in amphibrachic tetrameter instead of iambic pentameter? What if it was originally a sonnet in Hebrew based on Italian versification conventions that combines hendecasyllabic and decasyllabic lines? I’ma do it. I’m a rebel, baby.

(Side question: Why do I love amphibrachs? Should I blame Seuss or Bialik?)

Shimshon Cohen Modon (1679 – 1727)
The Spirit of Whoring

The spirit of whoring, so great in its power
Slips into the cheater and sets his heart burning
Like storms on the ocean he’s tossing and turning
He lays down, then stands — he can’t rest for an hour!

Like thistles to him are the beds of his bower
He rises at midnight, the city he’s circling
Like young men, he’s naught but a slave to his yearning
Like plunder in her hands his heart he’ll endow her.

He heaps gifts upon her, he’s endlessly flatt’ring
But she’s like a leech and will never be sated
She’ll take and keep tempting him, coming and going

He’ll go out and bring her more gifts, never slowing
She’s heedless, though he bows and begs unabated
He’ll cry while she revels in this Feast of Gath’ring1

שמשון כהן מודון
רוח זנונים

 
רוּחַ זְנוּנִים רַב גְּדֹל הַכֹּחַ
נִכְנַס בְּעֵין נוֹאֵף וְלֵב יַבְעִיר
רַבָּה תְנוּעָתוֹ כְּיָם יַסְעִיר
יִשְׁכַּב וְחִישׁ יָקוּם בְּלִי מָנוֹחַ.
 
עֶרֶשׂ יְצוּעָיו לוֹ כְּמוֹ הַחוֹחַ
יָקוּם חֲצוֹת לַיְלָה יְסוֹבֵב עִיר
עוֹבֵד חֲשׁוּקָתוֹ כְּאִישׁ צָעִיר
לִבּוֹ בְיָדָהּ הוּא שְׁבִי מַלְקוֹחַ.
 
מַרְבֵּה תְשׁוּרוֹת לָהּ וְעוֹד יוֹסִיף
אַךְ כַּעֲלוּקָה הִיא וְלֹא שָׂבָעָה
תִּקַח תְּפַתֵּהוּ בְּלֵךְ וָשׁוּב.
 
יֵלֵךְ וְיוֹבִיל שַׁי וְלָהּ יָשׁוּב
יִכְרַע וְיִתְחַנֵּן וְלֹא שָׁמָעָה
יִבְכֶּה וְהִיא תִשְׂמַח בְּחַג אָסִיף.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Rúaḥ zenuním rav gedól ha-kóaḥ
Nikhnás be-ʕein no’éif ve-léiv yavʕír
Rabáh tenuʕató ke-yám yasʕír
Yishkáv ve-ḥísh yakúm blí manóaḥ.

ʕéres yetzuʕáv lo kemó ha-ḥóaḥ
Yakúm ḥatzót láilah yesovéiv ʕir
ʕovéid ḥashukató ke-‘ísh tzaʕír
Libó ve-yadáh hu sheví malkóaḥ.

Marbéih teshurót lah ve-ʕód yosíf
‘Akh ka-ʕalukáh hi ve-ló saváʕah
Tikáḥ tefatéihu be-léikh va-shúv.

Yeiléikh ve-yovíl shai ve-láh yashúv
Yikhráʕ ve-yitḥanéin ve-ló shamáʕah
Yivkéh ve-hí tismáḥ be-ḥag ‘asíf.

  1. Exodus 23:16. “Celebrate the Feast of Harvest with the first fruits of the crops you sow in your field. Celebrate the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field.” Otherwise known as Sukkot.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)

Are you a Russian spam robot? Prove it: *