May 212014
 

Yosef Tzarfati (? – 1527)
Stir Yourselves and Cry

O, stir yourselves and cry, hold like a rock,
  You House of Jacob, to the straight and clean
Abhor this furied folk of Belial
  And every part of Rome and Italy
Before you perish with their sins, before
  Their land expels and hurls you out to flee
Before the rage and wrath shall surge and rise
  Before the murk of Sheol’s depths you see
O, shake them off, awake and turn away
  O, leave this path, of Amalek be free.

יוסף צרפתי
השתעשעו ושעו

 
הִשְׁתַּעְשְׁעוּ וּשְׁעוּ כְּצוּר חִזְקוּ
 בֵּית יַעֲקֹב הַקַּב וְהַנָּקִי
גַּעֲלוּ בְעָם נִזְעָם בְּלִיַּעַל
 וּבְכָל־גְּלִיל רוֹמִי וְאִיטַלְקִי
טֶרֶם בְּחֶטְאָם תִּסְפוּ טֶרֶם
 אַרְצָם תְּגָרֶשְׁכֶם וְחוּץ תָּקִיא
טֶרֶם חֲרוֹן אַף רָם וּמִתְנַשֵּׂא
 מַשְׁפִּיל שְׁאוֹל לִרְאוֹת וּמַעְמִיקִי
הִתְנַעֲרוּ עוּרוּ פְּנוּ לָכֶם
 סֻרוּ רְדוּ מִתּוֹךְ עֲמָלֵקִי.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Hishtaʕsheʕú u-shʕú ke-tzúr ḥizqú
Beit yaʕaqóv ha-qáv ve-ha-naqí
Gaʕalú ve-ʕám nizʕám beliyaʕál
Uv-khól gelí romí ve-‘italqí
Térem be-ḥet’ám tisfú térem
‘Artzám tegareshkhém ve-ḥutz taqí
Térem ḥarón ‘af ram u-mitnaséi
Mashpíl she’ól lir’ót u-maʕmiqí
Hitnaʕarú ʕúru penú lakhém
Súru redú mi-tókh ʕamaleiqí.

Dec 102013
 

You’re going to die.

Yosef Tzarfati (? – 1527)
Time Shall Reap

Time shall reap, and never shall think to restore,
All the grace that once he had sown ‘cross your brow;
The high throne that you thought was yours evermore
Will be brought in the end to Sheol, I vow;
And this rope that your glory’s bound me with sure
Time will cut with hooks and the shares of his plow;
It is Time who casts down, who lifts and renews,
And who metes out fair judgment to the abused.

יוסף צרפתי
זמן החן אשר זרע במצחך


זְמַן הַחֵן אֲשֶׁר זָרַע בְּמִצְחֵךְ
יְאַסְּפֵהוּ וְלֹא יוֹסִיף לְתִתּוֹ
וְכֵס גָּבְהֵךְ אֲשֶׁר חָשַׁבְתְּ לְנִצְחֵךְ
שְׁאוֹל יוּרַד בְּבֹא יוֹמוֹ וְעִתּוֹ
וְחֶבֶל בּוֹ קְשַׁרְתִּינִי בְּנִצְחֵךְ
זְמָן יִכְרֹת בְּמַזְמַרְתּוֹ וְאֵתוֹ
זְמַן מַשְׁפִּיל זְמַן מֵרִים וּמֵקִים
וְעוֹשֶׂה דִין וּמִשְׁפָּט לַעֲשׁוּקִים.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Zemán ha-ḥéin ‘ashér zaráʕ be-mitzḥéikh
Ye’asféihu ve-ló yosíf letitó
Ve-khéis govhéikh ‘ashér ḥashávt le-nitzḥéikh
She’ól yurád be-vó yomó ve-ʕitó
Ve-ḥével bo qeshartíni be-nitzḥéikh
Zemán yikhrót be-mazmartó ve-‘eitó
Zemán mashpíl zemán meirím u-meiqím
Ve-ʕoséh din u-mishpát la-ʕashuqím.

Oct 312013
 

BREAKING: semi-living depressive romantic translates certainly dead depressive romantic; Earth continues to orbit sun at even clip.

Yosef Tzarfati (? – 1527)
Behold, My Fawn

Behold, my fawn, are you not built on the dust,
Is not the dust your journey’s end and demise?
Your glories vainly fade and end, once robust,
As through your body’s flesh will work worms and flies.
Cruel time still licks at your feet’s dust, though you’re just
A young gazelle that age shall crush down to size.
And see, your back lacks all support, see your stain,
And take no pride in your grace or form e’er again.

יוסף צרפתי
ראי עפרה

 
רְאִי עָפְרָה הֲכִי עָפָר יְסוֹדֵךְ
וְאֶל עָפָר תְּשׁוּבָתֵךְ וְסוֹפֵךְ
וְסָף הוֹדֵךְ וְתַם לָרִיק כְּבוֹדֵךְ
בְּבֹא רִמָּה וְתוֹלֵעָה בְּגוּפֵךְ
זְמָן יִלְחֹךְ עֲפַר רַגְלֵךְ בְּעוֹדֵךְ
צְבִיַּת־חֵן וְעֵת זִקְנָה יְשׁוּפֵךְ
חֲזִי חֶסְרוֹן יְסוֹד גֵּוֵךְ וְדָפְיֵךְ
וְאַל־תִּגְאִי לְטוּב מַרְאֵךְ וְיָפְיֵךְ.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Re’í ʕofráh hakhí ʕafár yesodéikh
Ve-‘él ʕafár teshuvatéikh ve-soféikh
Ve-sáf hodéikh ve-tám la-ríq kevodéikh
Be-vó rimáh ve-toleiʕáh be-guféikh
Zemán yilḥókh ʕafár ragléikh be-ʕodéikh
Tzeviyát ḥein ve-ʕéit ziknáh yeshuféikh
Ḥazí ḥesrón yesód geivéikh ve-dofyéikh
Ve-‘ál tig’í le-túv mar’éikh ve-yofyéikh.

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.

May 122013
 

It’s my favorite Roman/Florentine again!

Yosef Tzarfati (? – 1527)
My Gazelle, I Shall Flee

My gazelle, I shall flee from girls of my age
  For all shapely women you make appear veiled;
With your beauty you laughed at the stars on high,
  And the sun underneath your heel you have crushed.
For days you have hunted your prey — my own mind,
  For my ev’ry thought your tight nets you have spread.
And my soul is crushed as it leans towards your lust,
  With thoughts of your love it has been overweighed.
To the sight of your grace, my heart’s joy, I’ll pray:
  ”Be kind, please show mercy,” I’ll tell it aloud,
“And your mistress’ heart, please turn towards my plea —
  And pity the soul in her footsteps’ mud ground.”
My dear, if I’d have but your tidings I’d scorn
  The sun in the heavens, the land most despised;
I won’t even sense if you choose me — will not
  My own flesh be before all my comrades abhorred?
The vapor of all the world’s matter I seem;
  You alone shall be in my treasuries concealed.
Among lions’ jaws I’d not fear for my soul,
  As between your arms I would find my escape.
For your beauty I’d trade the treetops and palms,
  In pleading your value, gorgeous as myrtles.
Glory without you against you’s disgraceful,
  Before you all charms of the world are consumed.
Please may it be that I perish tomorrow
  And not have to taste of this world one more crumb,
And would that this doe of grace be mine today,
  Enticed, or brought in to me, or made to stay!

יוסף צרפתי
צביה מבנות דורי

 
צְבִיָּה מִבְּנוֹת דּוֹרִי אֲנוּסָה
 אֲשֶׁר שַׂמְתְּ כָּל־יְפַת־תֹּאַר מְכֻסָּה
וְצָחַקְתְּ אֶל־צְבָא מָרוֹם בְּיָפְיֵךְ
 וְהַשֶּׁמֶשׁ בְּכַף רַגְלֵךְ דְּרוּסָה
תְּמוֹל לָכְדָה מְצוּדָתֵךְ זְמָמַי
 וְרִשְׁתֵּךְ עַל־מְזִמּוֹתַי פְּרוּסָה
וְנַפְשִׁי גָרְסָה אֶל־תַּאֲוָתֵךְ
 בְּמַשָּׂא מַחְשְׁבוֹת חִשְׁקֵךְ עֲמוּסָה
פְּנֵי חַסְדֵּךְ מְשׂוֹשׂ לִבִּי אֲפַלֵּל
 וְאֹמְרָה נָא חֲמֹל עָלַי וְחוּסָה
וְהַטֵּה לֵב גְּבִרְתֵּךְ אֶל־צְלוֹתִי
 לְחֹן נֶפֶשׁ בְּטִיט נַעְלָהּ רְמוּסָה
יְדִידָה אִם שְׁלוֹמֵךְ לִי, אֲבַזֶּה
 חַמַת שַׁחַק וְגַם אֶרֶץ כְּעוּסָה
וְלֹא אָחוּשׁ בְּבָחְרֵךְ בִּי הֲתִהְיֶה
 גְּוִיָּתִי לְכָל־יוֹדְעַי מְאוּסָה
לְהֶבֶל כָּל־רְכוּשׁ תֵּבֵל אֲדַמֶה
 לְבַד תִּהְיִי בְאוֹצְרוֹתַי כְּמוּסָה
וְלֹא אִירָא לְנַפְשִׁי תּוֹךְ לְבָאִים
 בְּמָצְאִי בֵין זְרֹעַיִךְ מְנוּסָה
בְּיָפְיֵךְ אַחֲלִיף תָּמָר וְאָמִיר
 בְּחִין עֶרְכֵּךְ פְּאֵר כַּנֵי הֲדַסָּה
הֲדַר בִּלְתֵּךְ לְעֻמָּתֵךְ מְבִזָּה
 וְכָל־חֶמְדָּה לְפָנַיִךְ נְתוּסָה
וּמִי יִתֵּן וְאֶגְוַע מָחֳרָת יוֹם
 וְלֹא אֶטְעַם בְּתֵבֵל עוֹד פְּרוּסָה
וְתֶהִי יַעֲלַת־חֵן לִי כְּהַיּוֹם
 מְפֻתָּה אוֹ כְנוּסָה אוֹ אֲנוּסָה.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Tzeviyáh, mi-benót dorí ‘anusáh
‘Ashér samt kol yefát tó’ar mekhusáh
Ve-tzaḥákt ‘el tzevá maróm be-yofyéikh
Ve-ha-shémesh be-kháf ragléikh derusáh
Temól lakhdáh metzudatéikh zemamái
Ve-rishtéikh ʕal mezimotái perusáh
Ve-nafshí garsáh ‘el ta’aváteikh
Be-masá maḥshevót ḥishkéikh ʕamusáh
Penéi ḥasdéikh mesós libí ‘afaléil
Ve-‘omráh na ḥamól ʕalái ve-ḥusáh
Ve-hatéih leiv gevirtéikh ‘el tzelotí
Laḥón néfesh be-tít naʕláh remusáh
Yedidáh ‘im sheloméikh li, ‘avazéh
Ḥamát sháḥak ve-gám ‘éretz keʕusáh
Ve-ló ‘aḥúsh be-voḥréikh bi ha-tihyéh
Geviyatí le-khól yodʕái me’usáh
Le-hével kol rekhúsh teivéil ‘adaméh
Levád tihyí ve-‘otzrotái kemusáh
Ve-ló ‘irá le-nafshí tokh leva’ím
Be-motz’í vein zeroʕáyikh menusáh
Be-yofyéikh ‘aḥalíf tamár ve-‘amír
Be-ḥín ʕerkéikh pe’éir kanéi hadasáh
Hadár biltéikh le-ʕumatéikh mevizáh
Ve-khól ḥemdáh lefanáyikh netusáh
U-mí yitéin ve-‘egváʕ maḥarát yom
Ve-ló ‘etʕám be-teivéil ʕod perusáh
Ve-tehí yaʕalát ḥein li ke-ha-yóm
Mefutáh ‘o khenusáh ‘o ‘anusáh.

Feb 052013
 

Take it to heart.

Yosef Tzarfati (? – 1527)
Days of Dotage

Days of dotage are cruel, and few, and so slight,
Filled with torment and pain, with grief and with gloom;
They’re afflicted by blows so cruel, every blight,
And within them all men find graves and their tomb.
But the days of one’s youth and prime are delight;
Every creature with joy among them’s abloom.
With affection, fair girl, your lovers embrace
While the splendor of youth still shines from your face

יוסף צרפתי
ימי זקנה

 
יְמֵי זִקְנָה מְעַט מִזְעָר וְרָעִים
מְלֵאִים צִיר וְיָגוֹן וַאֲנָחָה
בְּכָל מַכָּה וְחֹלִי רַע נְגוּעִים
וְבָם קֶבֶר לְכָל גֶּבֶר וְשׁוּחָה
יְמֵי בַחְרוּת וְשַׁחְרוּת שַׁעֲשׁוּעִים
וְכָל בְּרִיָּה בְחֶבְרָתָם שְׂמֵחָה
בְּחִבָּה חַבְּקִי, עַלְמָה, עֲלָמִים
בְּעוֹד נוֹצֵץ בְּמִצְחֵךְ זִיו עֲלוּמִים.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Yeméi ziknáh meʕát mizʕár ve-raʕím
Melei’ím tzir ve-yagón va-‘anaḥáh
Be-khól makáh ve-ḥolí raʕ neguʕím
U-vám kéver le-khól géver ve-shuḥáh
Yeméi vaḥrút ve-shaḥrút shaʕashuʕím
Ve-khól beriyáh ve-ḥevratám semeiḥáh
Be-ḥibáh ḥabkí, ʕalmáh, ʕalamím
Be-ʕód notzéitz be-mitzḥéikh ziv ʕalumím.

Jan 232013
 

Segulah is one of those words, like saudade in Portuguese, that you could give a twenty-minute translation of. Or you could just translate it as “charm” and move on with your life, such as it is.

Yosef Tzarfati (? – 1527)
The Back of Your Eye

The back of your eye holds a charm, graceful doe
To plunder the wealth of the whole world’s delight
It’s rounded in shape like the half of a rainbow
As if disguised as the moon it shines bright
Like a marble on your eye it’s aglow1
Like a splend’rous wreath for its glimmers and light,
Which keen-edged and pointed as arrows fly true,
At all times, shot forth towards me eager by you.

יוסף צרפתי
בגב עינך

 
בְּגַב עֵינֵךְ צְבִיַּת־חֵן סְגֻלָּה
לְשׁוֹדֵד מִמִּשׂוֹשׂ תֵּבֵל פְּאֵרוֹ
וְלוֹ תַבְנִית חֲצִי קֶשֶׁת עֲגֻלָּה
כְּמוֹת סַהַר בְּהִתְחַפֵּשׂ מְאוֹרוֹ
וְהוּא עוֹמֵד עֲלֵי־עַיִן כְּגֻלָּה
כְּנֵזֶר הוֹד לְנִיצוֹצָיו וְאוֹרוֹ
וְהֵם רָצִים כְּרוּץ חִצִּים חֲרוּצִים
וְכָל־עֵת יוֹצְאִים נֶגְדִּי חֲלוּצִים.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Be-gáv ʕeinéikh tzeviyát ḥein seguláh
Leshodéid mi-mesós teivéil pe’eiró
Ve-ló tavnít ḥatzí késhet ʕaguláh
Kemót sáhar be-hitḥapéis me’oró
Ve-hú ʕoméid ʕaléi ʕáyin ke-guláh
Ke-néizer hod le-nitzotzáv ve-‘oró
Ve-héim ratzím ke-rútz ḥitzím ḥarutzím
Ve-khól ʕeit yotz’ím negdí ḥalutzím.

  1. There’s a potential double meaning in this line, which literally means “it stands on your eye (`ayin) like a gulah.” A gulah can be a marble or the round crown of a column or any number of other round things, but also a source of water. `Ayin can be a spring or fountain, so theoretically this line could be read “it stands on your spring like the source of its waters.” Obviously, since this is a poem about a girl’s eyes, that’s a secondary reading, but there it is.
Jan 152013
 

While I cannot claim to have gotten out of bed in the last forty-eight hours except to walk the poor dog and buy the store’s largest tub of cookies-and-cream ice cream, the doubtless toxic brew of over-the-counter cold medicines, benzodiazepines, cookies/cream and a bisl red wine churning in my guts has, in defiance of all recorded medical science, rendered me oddly awake and aware, if not entirely in full control of my faculties, such as they are. On that note, while desperately hoping for one of these many chemicals/frozen treats to knock me unconscious, I embarked on an experiment to try to render the quantitative meter that defined so much Hebrew poetry for so long with our Italian friend Yosef Tzarfati. The Italian poets employed both quantitative meter, typical of the Spanish (Arabic-informed) Hebrew school, and qualitative, which was more Italian, and more familiar to English ears. Quantitative meter, based on pronunciation length, doesn’t really work in English exactly, but I gave it a shot. This particular poem’s meter in Hebrew is long-long long-short-long-long long-short-long-long, but in my semi-coherence, I got it backwards and made it in English short-short short-long-short-short short-long-short-short. Sort of. I think. Why should I redo it. I don’t even know what day it is.

Yosef Tzarfati (? – 1527)
You Were Fashioned, Child

By God’s own finger you were fashioned, child
  You are a work of Heaven’s Lord above
You are his hand’s work, made to glorify
  And the delight of Jewish mothers’ girls
You’re the delight of the world’s girls, their best
  For all creation you’re a looking glass
Your mother’s grace and glory shine in you
  And on your brow her beauty’s like a bloom
But you’re the daughter of Belial, vile!
  In all his actions strange and alien
He’s known to all who pass him by as one
  Who breaks the Torah and the laws of right
Your lamp is darkened by this man and so
  Your sunshine’s radiance turns to darkest gloom
The way he shames you and abases you
  If you grow tall, you’ll yet be mean and low
Someone should kill your father; may his name
  Be blotted out and be for good erased
Then you’d be called the joy of Earth by all
  A creature wholly grace and beauteous.

יוסף צרפתי
ילדה מתוארת

 
יַלְדָּה מְתֹאֶרֶת בְּאֶצְבַּע יָהּ
 אַתְּ מַעֲשֵׂה מָרָן דְּבִשְׁמַיָּא
אַתְּ מַעֲשֵׂה יָדָיו לְהִתְפָּאֵר
 חֶמְדַּת בְּנוֹת אִמָּה יְהוּדִיָּה
חֶמְדַּת בְּנוֹת תֵּבֵל וְטוּבָם אַתְּ
 אַתְּ מַחֲזֶה כִרְאִי לְכָל בְּרִיָּה
הוֹד וַהֲדַר אִמֵּךְ בְּפָנַיִךְ
 יָפְיָהּ עֲלֵי מִצְחֵךְ כְּצִיץ הָיָה
אַךְ בַּת־בְּלִיַּעַל וְרָשָׁע אַתְּ
 זָרָה פְּעֻלָּתוֹ וְנָכְרִיָּה
נוֹדַע לְכָל־עוֹבֵר כְּאִישׁ עוֹבֵר
 עַל־דָּת וְעַל־תּוֹרָה פְלִילִיָּה
זֶה מַחֲשִׁיךְ נֵרֵךְ וְזֶה הוֹפֵךְ
 נֹגַהּ בְּאוֹר שִׁמְשֵׁךְ לְמַאְפֵּלְיָה
בּוֹזֵךְ וּמַשְׁפִּילֵךְ וְאִם־גָּבַהְתְּ
 לִהְיוֹת גְּרוּעַת כֹּל וְתַחְתִּיָּה
מִי יַהֲרֹג הוֹרֵךְ וְאֶת־זִכְרוֹ
 יִמְחֶה וְיִשָּׁכַח לְעָלְמַיָּא
אָז יִקְרְאֵךְ רוֹאֵךְ מְשׂוֹשׂ־אֶרֶץ
 עֶגְלָה כְּלִילַת חֵן יְפֵיפִיָּה.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Yaldáh meto’éret be-‘etzbáʕ yah
‘At maʕaséih marán de-vishmayá
‘At maʕaséih yadáv lehitpa’éir
Ḥemdát benót ‘imáh yehudiyáh
Ḥemdát benót teivéil ve-tuvám ‘at
‘At maḥazéh khir’í le-khól briyáh
Hod ve-hadár ‘iméikh be-fanáyikh
Yofyáh ʕaléi mitzḥéikh ke-tzítz hayáh
‘Akh bat beliyaʕál ve-rasháʕ ‘at
Zaráh peʕulató ve-nokhriyáh
Nodáʕ le-khól ʕovéir ke-‘ísh ʕovéir
ʕal dat ve-ʕal toráh feliliyáh
Zeh maḥashíkh neiréikh ve-zéh hoféikh
Nógah be-‘ór shimshéikh le-ma’peilyáh
Bozéikh u-mashpiléikh ve-‘ím gaváht
Liheyót geruʕát kol ve-taḥtiyáh
Mi yaharóg horéikh ve-‘ét zikhró
Yimḥéh ve-yishakháḥ le-ʕalmayá
‘Az yikre’éikh ro’éikh mesos ‘éretz
ʕegláh kelilát ḥein yefeifiyáh.

Jan 122013
 

So many sonnets lately. Let’s have another ottava rima. I almost even managed to preserve hendecasyllabic lines throughout. Almost. Will you forgive me? Please forgive me.

Yosef Tzarfati (? – 1527)
As Long As I Live

As long as I live, in full view I’ll walk ’round
The place where you dwell, those who watch I’ll ignore;
To walk in your service my footsteps are bound —
The doors of your passageways I will adore;
My song will wake those who now sleep in the ground,
Those who’ve sunk to the grave my words will restore,
‘Til you heed my lament, my outcry, my tear,
When the sound of your stirring salvation I hear.

יוסף צרפתי
בעודי חי

 
בְּעוֹדִי חַי לְעֵין אַחַי אֲסוֹבֵב
מְכוֹן שִׁבְתֵּךְ וְלֹא אָחוּשׁ לְשׁוּרַי
וְאֶת־דַּלְתוֹת פְּתָחַיִךְ אֲחוֹבֵב
וְאָכִין לַעֲבוֹדָתֵךְ אֲשׁוּרַי
בְּמִלַּי יֹורְדֵי דוּמָה אֲדוֹבֵב
וְאָקִיץ שׁוֹכְנֵי עָפָר בְּשִׁירַי
עֲדֵי תִשְׁעִי נְהִי שַׁוְעִי וְדִמְעִי
בְּנוֹד יִשְׁעֵךְ וְתִשָּׁמְעִי לְשִׁמְעִי.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Be-ʕodí ḥai le-ʕéin ‘aḥái ‘asovéiv
Mekhón shivtéikh ve-ló ‘aḥúsh le-shurái
Ve-‘ét daltót petaḥáyikh ‘aḥovéiv
Ve-‘akhín laʕavodatéikh ‘ashurái
Be-milái yordéi dumáh ‘adovéiv
Ve-‘akítz shokhnéi ʕafár be-shirái
ʕadéi tishʕí nehí shavʕí ve-dimʕí
Be-nód yishʕéikh ve-tishamʕí le-shimʕí.

Dec 292012
 

It’s yet another poem. I don’t know. I don’t have anything clever to say.

Yosef Tzarfati (? – 1527)
The Light and Flashes of Your Eyes

Arrows are the light and flashes of your eyes,
And the brows above are tautly drawn bows,
And to puncture all the suitors that arise
All too eager every moment they stand posed.
Half their number day by day demolished dies,
Thousands pass away because their wounds won’t close.
Your hard heart’s fiercer than the cruelest rival,
To be your love leaves no hope for survival.

יוסף צרפתי
מאור עינך

 
מְאוֹר עֵינֵךְ וְנִיצוֹצָיו חֲצָצִים
וְגַבּוֹתָיו קְשָׁתוֹת הֵם דְּרוּכוֹת
וְלִפְרֹץ בַּחֲשׁוּקַיִךְ פְּרָצִים
בְּכָל־עֵת הֵם עֲלֵי־יֶתֶר עֲרוּכוֹת
לְמַחְצָם נוֹפְלִים יוֹם יוֹם רְצוּצִים
רְבָבוֹת גֹּוְעִים מֵאֵין אֲרוּכוֹת
וְלִבֵּךְ צַר וְעַז מִצַּר וְאַכְזָר
וּמִמֵּךְ אֵין יְדִיד נִצַּל וְנֶעְזָר.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Me’ór ʕeinéikh ve-nitzotzáv ḥatzatzím
Ve-gabotáv keshatót heim derukhót
Ve-lifrótz ba-ḥashukáyikh peratzím
Be-khól ʕeit heim ʕaléi yéter ʕarukhót
Le-maḥtzám noflím yom yom retzutzím
Revavót govʕím me-‘éin ‘arukhót
Ve-libéikh tzar ve-ʕáz mi-tzár ve-‘akhzár
U-miméikh ‘ein yedíd nitzál ve-neʕzár.