Jan 242013

Man, at first I was like, “Did Shmuel ha-Nagid not know where wine comes from?” and I was like, “whaaaaaaaaaaaaat;” but then I remembered that back in the day wine was customarily diluted with water before serving and I was like, “ohhhhhhhhhhh.” 1 Things basically said in Hebrew a thousand years ago: “Wine! It’s like there’s sex in your mouth!”

Shmuel ha-Nagid (993 – 1056?)
Sorrowful Friend

Sorrowful friend! For the son of fountains
  take you a girl from the vines’ own daughters,
Gather them both in a cup and for them
  your mouth will seem like a bridegroom’s chambers,
Inside your head they’ll conceive and give birth
  shortly inside of your heart to raptures.

שמואל הנגיד / إسماعيل بن النغريلة
רעה יגונים

רֵעֶה יְגוֹנִים! לְבֶן עֲיָנִים / אִשָּׁה לְקַח מִבְּנוֹת גְּפָנִים,
וֶאְסֹף שְׁנֵיהֶם בְּכוֹס, וּפִיךָ / לָהֶם יְהִי כַּחֲדַר חֲתָנִים,
יֶהְרוּ בְתוֹךְ רֹאשְׁךָ וְיֵלְדוּ / פִּתְאֹם בְּתוֹךְ לִבְּךָ שְׂשׂוֹנִים.


Reiʕéh yegoním! Le-vén ʕayaním / ‘isháh lekáḥ mi-benót gefaním,
Ve’sóf sheneihém be-khós, u-fikhá / lahém yehí ka-ḥadár ḥataním,
Yehrú ve-tókh roshkhá ve-yeildú / pit’óm be-tókh libkhá sesoním.

  1. This is actually how I think.

  4 Responses to “Shmuel ha-Nagid, “Rei`eh Yegonim””

  1. this will be my tattoo, with full vocalization.

  2. Right between an eagle eating a snake on top of a cactus and the virgen lacrimosa.

  3. but to be fair, another summary of this poem could be “Wine! It’s like there’s a maternity ward in your mouth.”

  4. The text, and indeed life itself, support both readings. I seem to recall more than one night filled with the raptures of the vine’s daughter (or the blue agave’s daughter), followed by a day of feeling like there was a maternity ward going on inside one’s skull.

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