Apr 242014
 

Zelda (1914 – 1984)
The Seamstress

By day her modest house is so bare,
with no friend, with no spouse,
by night she’ll be ruled by a master
exalted, devoted.

As she sickens — he will embrace her,
as she ebbs — he will then kiss her,
when she dies —
he’ll hold her against his cool heart
with hands made of dust.

זלדה
התופרת


בַּיוֹם בֵּיתָהּ הַקָּטָן כֹּה שׁוֹמֵם,
בְּלֹא יָדִיד, בְּלֹא חָתַן,
בַּלַּיְלָה יִשְׁלֹט בָּה אָדוֹן
נַעֲלֶה, נֶאֱמָן.

כְּשֶׁתֶחֱלֶה — יְחַבְּקֶנָּה,
כְּשֶׁתִּגְוַע — יְנַשְּׁקֶנָּה,
כְּשֶׁתָּמוּת —
יְאַמְּצֶנָּה אֶל לִבּוֹ הַקַּר,
בְּיָדַיִם שֶׁל עָפָר.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Ba-yóm beitáh ha-qatán koh shoméim,
be-ló yadíd, be-ló ḥatán,
ba-láilah yishlót bah ‘adón
naʕaléh, ne’emán.

Kshe-teḥeléh — yeḥabqénah,
kshe-tigváʕ — yenashqénah,
kshe-tamút —
ye’amtzénah ‘el libó ha-qár,
be-yadáyim shel ʕafár.

Apr 242014
 

This guy was really, really concerned about whoring. On the one hand, we have here fairly clear testimony concerning the, ah, flexible morality of the holy yidden of Italy, may their righteous memories be for a blessing (such testimony is not exactly rare, of course). On the other hand, sometimes I feel that Mr. Cohen may himself have been, shall we say, protesting too much.

Shimshon Cohen Modon (1679 – 1727)
Great Are the Deeds

Great are the deeds of the spirit of whoring
So strong has she grown that mountains she razes
The great and the honored she’s brought down from soaring
Victims are they of her lust’s fiery blazes.

Fools say at first that she’s sweet, e’er adoring,
But what she’s endowed them are poisons, malaises;
Their bodies now rot away, humors outpouring,
A dread wail of sorrow their poor spirit raises.1

The wealth of their houses they’ve squandered, depleted
And bought mortal wounds in return for their benders
They’ve acted the fool so by does they’d be seated.

They’ll be brought to Sheol, for aid no man tenders,
They’ll find there no refuge, and tremble defeated,
Shocked by the fear of what their sin now renders!

שמשון כהן מודון
רוח זנונים לעשות הגדילה

 
רוּח זְנוּנִים לַעֲשׂוֹת הִגְּדִילָה
הָרִים תְּפַרֵק עַד־מְאֹד חָזָקָה
רַבִּים וְנִכְבָּדִים כְּבָר הִפִּילָה
הֵם חַלֲלֵי הָאַהֲבָה דָלָקָה.
 
מֵרֹאשׁ פְּתָאִים אָמְרוּ ״מָתָקָה״
אַךְ לַעֲנָה וָרֹאשׁ בְּסוֹף הִנְחִילָה
וּבְשַֹר גְּוִיָּה נָמְסָה נָמָקָה
גַּם הַנְּשָׁמָה צָעֲקָה ״אֵילִילָה״.
 
בֵּיתָם וְהוֹנָם פִּזְּרוּ אִבָּדוּ
לִקְנוֹת כְּאֵב אָנוּשׁ וְהִתְהֹלָלוּ
כִּי נוֹאֲלוּ אֶל־יַעֲלוֹת נִצְמָדוּ.
 
מֵאֵין רְפוּאָה אֶל־שְׁאוֹל יוּבָלוּ
אַךְ לֹא לְבֵית מָנוֹס וְשָׁם יִרְעָדוּ
יִרְאוּ חֲתַת חֶטְאָם וְעוֹד נִבְהָלוּ.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Rúaḥ zenuním laʕasót higdílah
Harím tefaréiq ʕad me’ód ḥazáqah
Rabím ve-nikhbadím kevár hipílah
Heim ḥalaléi ha-‘ahaváh daláqah

Mei-rósh peta’ím ‘amrú matáqah
‘Akh laʕanáh va-rósh be-sóf hinḥílah
U-vesár geviyáh namsáh namáqah
Gam ha-neshamáh tzaʕaqáh ‘eilílah.

Beitám ve-honám pizrú ‘ibádu
Liqnót ke’éiv ‘anúsh ve-hitholálu
Ki no’alú ‘el yaʕalót nitzmádu.

Mei-‘éin refu’áh ‘el she’ól yuválu
‘Akh lo le-véit manós ve-shám yirʕádu
Yir’ú ḥatát ḥet’ám ve-ʕod nivhálu.

  1. cf. Micah 1:8