Apr 192014

Hayim Gouri (1923 – )
Your House

And your house I left for me, and only me.
There I know the ghosts will never languish.
Like a lamp that flickers through my night,
Alone among the cold and the extinguished.
And your house I left for me, and only me,
And I met there in the doorway all of me.

One by one the terrors grew in strength,
One by one all falsehood’s flowers fell.
And in tatters I walked on at length,
With my life borne in my tightened jaws.

חיים גורי

וְאֶת בֵּיתֵךְ הוֹתַרְתִּי לִי, רַק לִי.
אוֹתוֹ לֹא יִפְקְדוּ הָרְפָאִים.
כְּנֵר הַמְהַבְהֵב עַל־פְּנֵי לֵילִי,
אֶחָד בֵּין הַקָּרִים וְהַכְּבוּיִים.
וְאֶת בֵּיתֵךְ הוֹתַרְתִּי לִי, רַק לִי.
וּבוֹ הַדֶּלֶת בָּהּ פָּגַשְׁתִּי אֶת כֻּלִּי.
אֶחָד־אֶחָד עָצְמוּ הַמּוֹרָאִים,
אֶחָד־אֶחָד נָשְׁרוּ פִּרְחֵי הַשֶּׁקֶר.
וְאָנֹכִי הָלַכְתִּי בִקְרָעִים,
נוֹשֵׂא חַיַּי בַּלֶּסֶת הַמְחֻשֶּׁקֶת.


Ve-ét beitéikh hotárti li, raq li.
‘Otó lo yifqedú ha-refa’ím.
Ke-néir ha-mehavhéiv ʕal pnéi leilí,
‘Eḥád bein ha-qarím ve-ha-kvuyím.
Ve-ét beitéikh hotárti li, raq li.
U-vó ha-délet bah pagáshti ‘et kulí.

‘Eḥád-‘eḥád ʕatzmú ha-mora’ím,
‘Eḥád-‘eḥád nashrú pirḥéi ha-shéqer.
Ve-‘anokhí halákhti viqraʕím,
Noséi ḥayái ba-léset hamḥushéqet.

Apr 192014

Chapter two of “Agunot,” as promised. You can find chapter one here.

Ben-Uri stands facing the ark and gazes at the work of his hands. Could it be just an ark? Why, it was a heart, it was a soul. A great soul trembles within. And this soul is none other than his own, of the artist himself, which he’d placed in his hands and cast into his work. How could others understand that?…and whether they did or not, the matter no longer concerned him. He had done his part with all that was in his strength and the recesses of his heart. The inner reaches of his soul drew him up and cast him back into the world — and there he stands like a vessel poured out…

Download chapter two here (PDF).

Apr 192014

Another Baroque Italian poet, another scant bit of biographical information. Apparently he lived in Chieri and Casale Monferrato. What else he did, who knows.

Yaakov Segrè (late sixteenth century – after 1629?)
Woman, Heed Your Path

In all things, woman, take heed of your path
  Chasing refuge in the garb of those untrue
What are you doing, with your crimson clothes
  The company of the blemished you pursue
You’d know these things are pointless in hard times
  If your pride’s smoke you’d let the wind blow through
And so call out then, “After all I’ve seen,
  Grace is but a lie, and beauty’s empty too.”

יעקב בן יצחק סגרי
אישה בכל אלה ראי דרכך

אִשָּׁה בְּכָל־אֵלֶּה רְאִי דַרְכֵּךְ
 עֵת עֹז וּבֶגֶד בּוֹגְדִים תִּרְדֹּפִי
מַה־תַּעֲשִׂי כִּי תִלְבְּשִׁי שָׁנִי
 וַתֵּלְכִי לִדְרשׁ אֲגֻדּוֹת דֹּפִי
לֹא תֵדְעִי שַׁחְרָהּ בְּיוֹם צָרָה
 אִם אֶת־עֲשַׁן הַגַּאֲוָה תִנְדֹפִי
אָז תִּקְרְאִי ״גַּם אַחֲרֵי רֹאִי
 שֶׁקֶר מְאֹד הַחֵן וְהֶבֶל יֹפִי״.


‘Isháh be-khól ‘éileh re’í darkéikh
ʕeit ʕoz u-véged bogdím tirdófi
Mah taʕasí ki tilbeshí shaní
Va-telkhí lidrósh ‘agudót dófi
Lo teidʕí shaḥráh be-yóm tzaráh
‘Im ‘et ʕashán ha-ga’aváh tindófi
‘Az tiqre’í, “Gam ‘aḥaréi ro’í
Shéqer me’ód ha-ḥéin ve-hével yófi.”