Feb 092013

God help me, I enjoy these translation exercises. Translating bossa nova lyrics isn’t poetry translation per se (or is it?), but Antônio Carlos Jobim was a very fine lyricist, and this is a favorite song of mine. It works out in Hebrew!

I am attaching the Getz/Gilberto version, of course, because not only is it untouchable, but the addition of Stan Getz provides the requisite Jewish content for Soul and Gone. I’ll take it where I can get it.

Stan Getz and João Gilberto - Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars)

Antônio Carlos Jobim

Um cantinho, um violão
Este amor, uma canção
Pra fazer feliz a quem se ama
Muita calma pra pensar
E ter tempo pra sonhar
Da janela vê se o Corcovado
O Redentor, que lindo
Quero a vida sempre assim
Com você perto de mim
Até o apagar da velha chama
E eu que era triste
Descrente desse mundo
Ao encontrar você eu conheci
O que é felicidade, meu amor.1

אנטוניו קרלוס ז’ובים

פִּנָּה קְטָנָה, וְגִּיטָרָה
אַהֲבָה זוּ ,וְגָם שִׁירָה
שֶׁיְּשַׂמְחוּ אֶת לֵב הַמְּאַהֶבֶת
שַׁלְוָה רָבָּה לְמַחֲשָׁבוֹת
זְמָן מַסְפִּיק לְחֲלוֹמוֹת
וְחַלּוֹן פּוֹנֶה לְקוֹרְקוּבַדּוּ:
מַה יָפֶה גֹּאֲלֵנוּ!
מִי יִתֵּן וַיַּעַבְרוּ כָּךְ הַחַיִּים
וּקְרוֹבָה תִּהְיִי לְעוֹלָמִים
עֲדֵי דִמְדּוּמֵי לַהַט עַתִּיק־יוֹמִין
וָאֲנִי, שֶׁנֶּעֱצַבְתִּי,
וּבָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה כָּפַרְתִּי,
עֵת מְצָאתִיךְ הֵיטֵב יָדַעְתִּי
מַהִי קוֹרַת־רוּחַ, אֲהוּבָתִי.

  1. A little corner, a guitar
    This love, a song
    To make the one you love happy
    Plenty of calm for thinking
    Plenty of time for dreaming
    From the window one can see Corcovado
    The Redeemer, how beautiful
    I want life to be like this always
    With you close to me
    Until the quenching of the ancient flame
    And I, who was sad
    A disbeliever in this world
    When I found you I first knew
    What happiness is, my love.

  2 Responses to “And another experiment!”

  1. Wow! I wish I spoke Portuguese…
    עדי דמדומי להט עתיק–יומין, what a line.

  2. Thanks! That’s my favorite too. In Portuguese it’s more literally “until the extinguishing of the ancient flame,” but I just love the word “dimdumim,” with its simultaneous evocations of twilight, sunset and the flickering-out of light or flame, so I try not to miss any chances to use it. And as far as atik-yomin, well, once you go Bialikian with “dimdumim,” you might as well stay there.

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