May 232013
 

You know this is pretty much the only place to find Yosef Tzarfati poems on the Internet in Hebrew, let alone English? I don’t even think most of these have been translated in any medium, except the small handful in the Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse. It’s a valuable public service I’m doing.

Yosef Tzarfati (? – 1527)
I See a Gazelle

I see a gazelle who ascends far above
  All young fawns of grace, from my refuge I fly,
Lest she make for me a tight snare from her locks,
  Lest I’m felled by arrows from her great supply.
Alone she has reigned over all graceful girls,
  Two lights, like a crown, ring her forehead on high.
She’s beauty by nature, without her all girls
  Would have to be cleaned off with whitewash and lye.

יוסף צרפתי
אראה צביה

 
אֵרְאֶה צְבִיָּה עָלְתָה עַל־יֶתֶר
 כָּל־יַעֲלוֹת הַחֵן וְאֶבְרַח סֵתֶר
פֶּן־תַּעֲשֶׁה רֶשֶׁת בְּשַׂעְרָהּ לִי וּפֶן־
 אֶפֹּל בְּחִצִּים כּוֹנֲנָה עַל־יֶתֶר
זֹאת מָלְכָה עַל־כָּל־בְּנוֹת הַחֵן וְעַל־
 רֹאשָׁהּ שְׁנֵי אוֹרִים וְכִדְמוּת כֶּתֶר
יָפָה בְטִבְעָהּ הִיא וּבִלְתָּהּ כָּל־בְּנוֹת
 הַחֵן תְּכַבֵּסְנָה בְסִיד וּבְנֶתֶר.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

‘Eir’éh tzeviyáh ʕaltáh ʕal yéter
Kol yaʕalót ha-ḥéin ve-‘evráḥ séiter
Pen taʕaséh réshet be-saʕráh li u-fén
‘Epól ve-ḥitzím konanáh ʕal yéter
Zot malkháh ʕal kol benót ha-ḥein ve-ʕál
Rosháh shenéi ‘orím ve-khi-demút kéter
Yafáh ve-tivʕáh hi u-viltáh kol benót
Ha-ḥein tekhabéisnah ve-síd u-ve-néter.