T. Carmi: She Is Asleep (From Hebrew)

She Is Asleep
T. Carmi
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
Click to hear me recite the original Hebrew

"I sleep, but my heart waketh; Hark! my beloved knocketh"
—Song of Songs 5:2

She is asleep; but her hand is awake,
More than the surgeon's palm in operation, 
To breathing, to the odors, to pulsation,
To murmurings that hidden dirges make.

She is asleep; but her ear still takes in
The clinkings of cool metal, the unsteady
Eyelids that fall too heavy. Ever ready
For silence of a sudden, and chagrin....

She is asleep; but watch her eye will keep
On you, on heedless spring, on autumn's thresh,
The dead to be, the breath of all that lives.
Oh may she rest in dream. She is asleep. 

But her hand will cut trusty as the knives


Till sundown in the raw and living flesh.




The Original:

ט. כרמי
היא ישנה
 
הִיא יְשֵׁנָה; אֲבָל יָדָהּ עֵרָה
יוֹתֵר מִכַּף־יָדוֹ שֶׁל הַמְנַתֵּחַ
לָרוּחַ וְלַדֹּפֶק וְלָרֵיחַ,
לְרַחַשׁ הַקִּינָה הַמְּסֻתָּרָה.
 
הִיא יְשֵׁנָה; אֲבָל אָזְנָהּ פְּקוּחָה
לְקִישׁ מַתֶּכֶת קְרִירָה וְנִיד
עַפְעַף כָּבֵד. הִיא עֲרוּכָה תָמִיד
לְדוּמִיַּת־פִּתְאֹם וְלַמְּבוּכָה.
 
הִיא יְשֵׁנָה; אֲבָל בְּךָ עֵינָהּ,
בְּפַחַז הָאָבִיב וּבַשַּׁלֶּכֶת,
בַּמֵּת הַבָּא, וּבְנִשְׁמַת־כָּל־חַי…
שָׁלוֹם לַחֲלוֹמָהּ, הִיא יְשֵׁנָה.
 
אֲבָל יָדָהּ הָאֱמוּנָה חוֹתֶכֶת
עַד בּוֹא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ בַּבָּשָׂר הַחַי.
Romanization:

Hi yešena; aval yada ˁeyra
Yoter mikaf-yado šel hamnatéaḥ
Larúaḥ veladófek velaréaḥ
Leráḥaš hakina hamsutara.

Hi yešena; aval ozna pkuḥa
Lekiš matéxet kerira vanid
ˁAfˁaf kaved. Hi ˁaruxa tamid
 Ledimiyat-pit'om velamvuxa.

Hi yešena; aval bexa ˁeyna,
Befáḥaz ha'aviv uvašaléxet
Bamet haba uvenišmat-kol-ḥay...
Šalom laḥaloma. Hi yešena.

Aval yada ha'emuna ḥotéxet
ˁAd bo hašémeš babasar haḥay

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