Jun 132013
 

I think this tajnis is a poem of mourning for a musician friend of the poet.

Vidal Benveniste (15th century)
Lyre and Harp

Lyre and harp, O shatter, you players / let sound a wail of fright
For fled is the light of every tune / for you songs shall be as the night.

וידאל בנבנשת
כינור ונבל נפצו


כִּנּוֹר וְנֵבֵל נַפְּצוּ / נוֹגְנִים וְהַשְׁמִיעוּ יְלֵיל
כִּי נָס מְאוֹר כָּל הַזְּמִיר / הַשִּׁיר יְהִי לָכֶם כְּלֵיל
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Kinór ve-neivéil naptzú / nogním ve-hashmíʕú yeléil
Ki nas me’ór kol ha-zamír / ha-shír yehí lakhém ke-léil

Feb 212013
 

Time. It has its detractors.

Vidal Benveniste (15th century)
Time Murdered

Though armed with no weapon, Time murdered my heart
  And drank of my blood like the grape’s in its glass
The day that you left set my honor astray
  To dwell in the wastes with the hawk1 and the owl
To pine there for days of companions’ rapport,
  Which were its due portion, the glass in its hand!

וידאל בנבנשת
זמן רצח


זְמָן רָצַח בְּלִי שֶׁלַח לְבָבִי
 וְיֵשְׁתְּ דָּמִי כְדַם עֵינָב בְּכוֹסוֹ
וְהֵנִיד אֶת כְּבוֹדִי יוֹם נְדוּדָךְ
 וְלִשְׁכֹּן עִם קְאַת מִדְבָּר וְכוֹסוֹ
וְשָׁם יוֹחִיל יְמֵי חֶבְרַת יְדִידִים
 אֲשֶׁר הֵמָּה מְנַת חֶלְקוֹ וְכוֹסוֹ
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Zeman ratzáḥ bli shélaḥ levaví / ve-yéisht damí khe-dám ʕeináv be-khosó
Ve-heiní ‘et kevodí yom nedudákh / ve-lishkón ʕim ke’át midbár ve-khosó
Ve-shám yoḥíl yeméi ḥevrát yedidím / ‘ashér heimáh menát ḥelkó ve-khosó

  1. Actually, to use scholarly terminology, nobody really knows what exactly the fuck a ka’at is, other than a bird that lives in the desert.
Feb 042013
 

It’s short! The addressee is female, so it’s probably not one of those poems that’s secretly about God. Unless it is.

Vidal Benveniste (15th century)
The Children of Time

The children of time set an ambush / and spread out cruel traps for my spirit
Ensconced in the charm of your speaking / towards freedom I’ll rise up and set out
And woe upon woe to my spirit / if ever your tongue should fall silent.

וידאל בנבנשת
ילדי זמן

 
יַלְדֵּי זְמָן פָּרְשׂוּ פַח / יוֹקְשִׁים וְאָרְבוּ לְנַפְשִׁי
וּבְחֵן נְאוּמֵךְ וְנִיבֵךְ / אֵלֵךְ וְאֵצֵא לְחָפְשִׁי
אוֹיָה וְאוֹיָה לְנַפְשִׁי / אִם הַחֲרֵשׁ תַּחֲרִישִׁי
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Yaldéi zemán parsú paḥ / yokshím ve-‘arvú le-nafshí
Uv-ḥéin ne’uméikh ve-nivéikh / ‘eiléikh ve-‘eitzéi le-ḥofshí
‘Oyáh ve-‘oyáh le-nafshí / ‘im haḥaréish taḥaríshi.

Jan 172013
 

One of the very last Hebrew poets of Spain, before Hebrew culture in Iberia was eradicated during the, y’know, unpleasantness. I have chosen it because it is a tajnis, and thus short enough to translate in the brief window the last of this left-over root canal Vicodin has me feeling more or less like a human being. Soon enough, it will be back to alternately shivering uncontrollably and soaking through my sheets with sweat, and being unable to swallow. I’m so happy to be alive. Every day holds wonderful new surprises.

The Key Word in this tajnis is tzir, which can mean “envoy,” “intense pain” or “hinge/axis.” Also “sauce” and “contraction” (as in childbirth). It’s a handy word.

Vidal Benveniste (15th century)
O Shapely Girl

O shapely girl, my thoughts have so desired you
  That as an envoy to your mercy they’ve sent this poem
So it might let you know how great their pain has grown
  How your grace and beauty seized them with distress
The torment of your parting encompasses their heart
  Like the turning of a door upon a hinge.

וידאל בנבנשת
יפת תואר

 
יְפַת תֹּאַר שְׂעִפַּי חָשְׁקוּ בָךְ / וְשִׁירָם זֶה לְחַסְדֵּךְ שָׁלְחוּ צִיר
לְהַגִּיד לָךְ אֲשֶׁר גָּדַל כְּאֵבָם / וְעַל חִנֵּךְ וְיָפְיֵךְ יֹאחֲזֵם צִיר
וְצִיר נוּדֵךְ עֲלֵי לִבָּם יְסֹבֵב / כְּמוֹ דֶּלֶת אֲשֶׁר תִּסֹּב עֲלֵי צִיר
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Yefát tó’ar seʕipái ḥashkú vakh / ve-shirám zeh le-ḥasdéikh shalḥú tzir
Lehagíd lakh ‘ashér gadál ke’eivám / ve-ʕál ḥinéikh ve-yofyéikh yoḥazéim tzir
Ve-tzír nudéikh ʕaléi libám yesovéiv / kemó délet ‘ashér tisóv ʕaléi tzir.