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; and yet her ear 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; and yet her eye will keep
On you, on reckless spring, on autumn's thresh,  
The next to die, the breath of every life.
Oh may she rest in dream. She is asleep. 

And yet her hand continues with the knife
To cut till sundown in the 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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