Sunday, December 26, 2004

So i've been translating poems by Yehuda Amichai. I'd link you to something there, but i havent found any good sites related to him, so you can do your own search. It's very difficult to translate Hebrew poetry because not only are semitic languages so very different from romance languages and germanic languages, but they are very pliable languages. it's really easy to play with the words, and the nuances are very different as are the specificities (word?).

anyway, here's a few that i translated. I'll update if there's any improvement in the translations:

Jerusalem 1985
Wishes are stuck in the graves of the Western Wall,
Pieces of paper wrinkled and stuck.
Against them a note stuck in an old metal door
Partly hidden in a Jasmine bush
"I could not come,
I hope you will understand."

From Man You are and to Man You Will Be Again
Death in the war begins
On the way down the stairs
For one young man
Death in the war begins
In the closing of a door in silence
Death in the war begins
In the opening of the window to the sight
So do not cry for the one going,
Cry for the one going down the stairs of his house
Cry for the one putting his key
Into his back pocket.
Cry to the photograph that remembers in our place
Cry to the paper that remembers,
Cry to the tears that do not remember
And in this spring
Who will rise and say to the dust:
From man you are and to man you will be again.

Thus I Will Be Increased and Thus I Will Be Holy
Between things falling and between things rising in haste
(does there) Exist a place to linger, to remain?
Between things dying and between things living
(does there) Exist a place for living in tranquillity in his house,
For one sitting in his place, for the seer, for the seen?
I am a judge, a single judgment sits on a chair
And there is no accuser and there is no accused
Only witnesses, witnesses, testimonies, testimonies.
In my childhood I knew what disease is in man,
I understood diseased animals,
In my maturity I learned that also trees
Can be diseased and suffer in silence.
I will still live to understand diseased stone,
Suffering rock, afflicted rock.
Thus the universe will encircle me. Silently.
Their silence speaks and the living will be silent. This is my place
And thus I will be increased and thus I will be holy.


Blogger Brian H said...

I will never look at dust the same way again.

December 28, 2004 at 12:38 AM  

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