Apr 232014
 

Dear readers, all four of you:

As you may have noticed, this site features a great and ever-growing heap of translations. I think we’ve passed the 300 mark. Since it’s always been my mission with this site to highlight poetry that has never been posted online in translation, or translated at all, and that poetry spans dozens of poets and countries and eras, I’ve decided to endeavor to impose a little order on the chaos. You will see on that I’ve rearranged the categories on the sidebar to order translations according to language, geographical origin and era. It’s not a perfect system, especially given the roving nature of many Hebrew poets, but I think all will agree that it makes navigating the morass of poetry a bit simpler. Please bear with me as I slowly work through all the posts one by one and file them accordingly.

With abiding love for all four of you,
Michael

Apr 232014
 

The thrilling conclusion. You can find chapter one here, chapter two here, chapter three here, chapter four here and chapter five here.

but this time there appears in addition a vision most terrifying and dreadful: it seems to him he sees the Shekhina, as it were, in the form of a beautiful woman, wrapped in black garments with no jewelry upon her, her finery stripped from her, her eyes flowing with tears, and she shakes her head at him…

Download chapter six here (PDF).

Apr 232014
 

Sure, I love Ayin Hillel, but he has this little quirk which makes transcribing his poems onto the Internet an exercise in self-laceration: pretty much all of his earlier work has the line spacing of the bullet-pointed meeting minutes of a coke-addled secretary, and I never quite understand why, but I am ever faithful to the artist, so painstakingly reproduce it I must. Of course, unless you use Opera or, lehavdil, Internet Explorer, none of the Hebrew text on this site ever displays correctly anyway, so…para quien trabajo yo.

Ayin Hillel (1926 – 1990)
Poetry for a Girl’s Eyes

A thing more sweet than beauty I’ve not seen except in grief,
      Which is itself the loss of sense confronted by such beauty!
Things more sublime than beauty I’ve not seen but in the night,
      Which is itself the mirrored gleam within the tears of beauty!
A thing more holy I’ve not seen than beauty but in God,
      Who is himself the lightning’s glare of silence in the heart,
      When reason faints before the face of beauty!
And furthermore, a thing more deep than beauty I’ve not seen except in death,
      Which is itself the doom of beauty, the end of every thought,
                           But endless is the void!
   
But this I’ve seen: a young girl’s eyes that brightly shine with grief, a grief that flows with tears
                           And the tears rain o’er night.

For this is grief more lofty than the host of nighttime’s stars,
And these are tears of grief that shine as bright as nighttime’s stars.
And furthermore, this too I’ve seen: a young girl’s eyes which gather the divine until the advent of
                                       The greatest fear!
And in those eyes’ depths I have seen the bitterness of death,
Which is the doom of beauty, the end of every thought,
                  The divine that is the void!

               *

And so I’ve seen: the mighty waters’ torrents whose waters reach e’er onward,
Their current passing over peace and calm, their journey ever silent, softly winged
               To bear the fish and tiny boat that float along —
Naught is every cliff that stands before them —
      For they’ve concealed it with their waters’ calm and steadfast smile.

And then I knew these rivers were a little allegory
                        For eyes that I had known.
The eyes that flow divine and calm, the shade of nighttime’s sky!
And the cliff, the cliff’s my heart —
And would that it could stand like rock before them, and they’d cover it to naught,
For what strength could it have against the restful peace of their smile’s steadfast pillar?!

ע. הלל
שירה לעיני נערה

 
לֹא רָאִיתִי מָתוֹק מִן הַיֹּפִי זוּלָתִי בַּיָּגוֹן,
    שֶׁהוּא אָבְדַן הָעֶשְׁתּוֹנוֹת מֵעָצְמַת הַיֹּפִי!
לֹא רָאִיתִי נִשְׂגָּב מִן הַיֹּפִי זוּלָתִי בַּלַּיְלָה,
    שֶׁהוּא נֹגַהּ בָּבוּאַת בְּכִי הַיֹּפִי!
לֹא רָאִיתִי קָדוֹשׁ מִן הַיֹּפִי זוּלָתִי בֵּאלֹהִים,
    שֶׁהוּא זֹהַר בְּרַק הַדּוּמִיָּה אֲשֶׁר לַלֵּב,
    עֵת תְּעֻלַּף הַדַּעַת לְמַרְאִית־הַיֹּפִי!
וְעוֹד זֹאת, לֹא רָאִיתִי עָמֹק מִן הַיֹּפִי זוּלָתִי בַּמָּוֶת,
    שֶׁהוּא כְּלוֹת הַיֹּפִי וְקֵץ כָּל מֻשָּׂג,
            וְאֵין־קֵץ הָאַיִן!
 
אֲבָל רָאִיתִי: עֵינֵ נַעֲרָה זוֹרְחוֹת יָגוֹן וְהַיָּגוֹן נוֹטֵף בְּכִי
            וְהַבְּכִי רוֹעֵף לַיְלָה.
 
זֶה הַיָּגוֹן הַגָּבוֹהַּ מִכָּל כּוֹכְבֵי הַלַּיְלָה,
וְאֵלוּ דִּמְעוֹת הַיָּגוֹן זוֹרְחוֹת כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַלַּיְלָה.
וְעוֹד זֹאת רָאִיתִי: עֵינֵ נַעֲרָה אוֹרוֹת אֱלֹהוּת עַד בּוֹא
             מוֹרָא גָּדוֹל!
וּבִמְצוּלוֹת הָעֵינַיִם רָאִיתִי אֶת מַר־הַמָּוֶת,
הוּא כְּלוֹת הַיֹּפִי, הוּא קֵץ כָּל מֻשָּׂג,
        הוּא אֱלֹהוּת הָאַיִן!
 
        *
 
רָאֹה רָאִיתִי: יְאוֹרוֹת מַיִם רַבִּים מַגִּיעִים מֵימֵהֶם אֶל הָלְאָה,
וְהִלּוּכָם עַל שָׁלוֹם וְעָל שַלְוָה, וּמַסָּעָם חֶרֶשׁ־חֶרֶשׁ, רַכֵּי־כְּנָפַיִם
        לְמַשָּׂא הַדָּגָה וְהַדּוּגִית אֲשֶׁר עִמָּם —
אֶפֶס, סֶלַע־צוּק כִּי יַעֲמֹד נֶגְדָּם —
       וְכִחֲדוּהוּ בְּחִיּוּךְ הַנֶּצַח הַשָּׁלֵו שֶׁל מֵימֵיהֶם.
 
אָז יָדַעְתִּי כִּי אֵין הַנְּהָרוֹת הַלָּלוּ אֶלָּא מָשָׁל מְעַט
            לָעֵינַיִם אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי יָדַעְתִּי.
הָעֵינַיִם הַזּוֹרְמוֹת שַׁלְוָה וֶאֱלֹהוּת בְּצֶבַע שְׁמֵי־הַלַּיְלָה!
וְלוּ כַּסֶלַע יַעֲמֹד נֶגְדָּם, וְכִחֲדוּהוּ עַד כְּלוֹת,
כִּי בַּמֶּה כֹּחוֹ מוּל כֹּחַ־הַשָּׁלוֹם וְהַמְּנוּחָה שֶׁל חִיּוּכָם נְצִיב הַנֶּצַח?!
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Lo ra’íti matóq min ha-yófi zulatí ba-yagón,
She-hú ‘ovdán ha-ʕeshtonót mei-ʕotzmát ha-yófi.
Lo ra’íti nisgáv min ha-yófi zulatí ba-láilah,
She-hú nógah bavu’át bekhí ha-yófi!
Lo ra’íti qadósh min ha-yófi zulatí beilohím,
She-hú zóhar beráq ha-dumiyáh ‘ashér la-léiv,
ʕeit teʕuláf ha-dáʕat le-mar’ít ha-yófi!
Ve-ʕód zot, lo ra’íti ʕamóq min ha-yófi zulatí ba-mávet,
She-hú kelót ha-yófi ve-qéitz kol muság,
Ve-‘éin qeitz ha-‘áyin!

‘Avál ra’íti: ʕeinéi naʕaráh zorḥót yagón ve-ha-yagón notéif bekhí
Ve-ha-bekhí roʕéif láilah.

Zeh ha-yagón ha-gavóhah mi-kól kokhvéi ha-láilah,
Ve-‘éilu dimʕót ha-yagón zorḥót ke-khokhvéi ha-láilah.
Ve-ʕód zot ra’íti: ʕeinéi naʕaráh ‘orót ‘elohút ʕad bo
Morá gadól!
U-vimtzulót ha-ʕeináyim ra’íti ‘et mar ha-mávet,
Hu kelót ha-yófi, hu qeitz kol muság,
Hu ‘elohút ha-‘áyin!

*

Ra’óh ra’íti: ye’orót máyim rabím magiʕím meimeihém ‘el hál’ah,
Ve-hilukhám ʕal shalóm ve-ʕál shalváh, u-masaʕám ḥéresh ḥéresh, rakéi-kenafáyim
Le-masá ha-dagáh ve-ha-dugít ‘ashér ʕimám —
‘Éfes, sélaʕ tzuq ki yaʕamód negdám —
Ve-khiḥadúhu be-ḥiyúkh ha-nétzaḥ ha-shaléiv shel meimeihém.

‘Az yadáʕti ki ‘ein ha-neharót halálu ‘éla mashál meʕát
La-ʕeináyim ‘ashér ‘anokhí yadáʕti.
Ha-ʕeináyim ha-zormót shalváh ve-‘elohút be-tzévaʕ shméi ha-láilah!
Ve-lú ka-sélaʕ yaʕamód negdám, ve-khiḥadúhu ʕad kelót,
Ki ba-méh koḥó mul kóaḥ ha-shalóm ve-ha-menuḥáh shel ḥiyukhám netzív ha-nétzaḥ?!