Tuvia Rübner: Lullaby (From Hebrew)

Born in Czechoslovakia, Tuvia Rübner went to Israel as a child and completed his schooling there, growing up on a Kibbutz. He fought in the Israeli army in 1948 as an infantryman in Haifa. Though he was with his wife when she was killed while riding a bus that was ambushed, he himself survived to later remarry and raise a family.

Lullaby
By Tuvia Rübner
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
Click to hear me recite the original Hebrew

My panther the nightborn has eyes that spark.
His teeth flare forth in the dark, in the dark,
His claw is sharp as the blade.
Sleep, my child, in the glade!

If you sleep and you nap my God's mercy prevails
And you will not see your mother draw pails
Of the azuring eyes of the light
To slake the creator of night.

Sleep and shutter your eyes,
With a merciful star in the skies,
And a star on mother's brow.
In vain my panther prowls now
In the dark, in the dark, in the glade
In dreams at your throat like a blade.


The Original:

שיר ערש
טוביה ריבנר

הלילי, נמרי, לו עיניים דולקות
בחושך, בחושך שניו בורקות,
ציפורן חדה–לו כתער,
נומה, ילדי, ביער!

אם תישן, אמ תנום, ירחם אלי,
לא תראה את אמך שואבת בידלי
את עיני–האורה התכולות
להשקות את בורא הלילות.

סגור עפעפיך ונום
בשמיים כוכב רחום
על מצח–אמך כוכב.
נמרי אורב לשוא
בחושך בחושך, ביער
בחלום על גרונך כמו תער

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