Eran Tzelgov: “L’at l’at / Little by Little”

cats-shadow-difonatura

 

לְאַט לְאַט
כָּל חָתוּל
מְאַמֵּץ
אֶת הֲלִיכַת הָאָדָם שֶׁלּוֹ
אֵין דֶּרֶךְ אַחֶרֶת
כָּכָה זֶה
בֵּין סַנְטֵר נוֹטֵף חָלָב
לְצִפּוֹר שְׁבוּרַת כָּנָף
לְאֶרֶס מְדַמֵּם עַל אֲהוּבָה שֶׁהָלְכָה לָהּ
עָקֵב בְּצַד אֲגוּדָל בְּצַד צְלוֹחִית לְצַד מַגָּף
אוֹתָהּ יְלָלָה
מַבָּט מַבְהִיק
וְאֵימַת הַתְּנוּעָה הַפִּתְאוֹמִית בַּחֲדַר הַשֵּׁנָה
לְאַט
כָּל חָתוּל מְאַמֵּץ
כָּכָה זֶה

חָתוּל

ערן צלגוב–

Photo: CaT’S shaDoW by DiFo&Natura

Little by little
Every cat
Adopts
His human’s beat
There can be no other way
That’s how it is
Between a milk-dripping chin
And a bird’s broken wing
And venom seeping over a long lost lover
Tiptoeing from the saucer to the boot
The same yowl
The same shining gaze
The fear of a sudden movement in the bedroom
Little by little
Every cat adopts
That’s how it is

A cat

–Translated by Adriana X. Jacobs and Eran Tzelgov

Poco a poco

Un gato

Adopta

El andar de su humano

No hay otro camino

Es así
Entre gotas de leche en la quijada

Un pájaro con el ala quebrada

Y veneno sangrante por un amor perdido

En puntas de pie entre un bol y un bota
Idéntico alarido

El brillo en la mirada

Y miedo al movimiento súbito en la cama

A poco

Un gato adopta

Es así



Un gato

–Traducción Gerardo Lewin

~ by matt on 3 January 2009.

18 Responses to “Eran Tzelgov: “L’at l’at / Little by Little””

  1. Love cats.
    And this is one of my favorites from now on.
    ever.

  2. Who is the poet?

  3. The poet is a co-editor of the Hebrew-language poetry journal Daka (which translates to “minute”–the temporal quantity; click to Daka off the Blogroll). Also, to see Eran reading some of his poems at a Daka party check this video out.

  4. Me-wow

  5. regarding the state of things currently in gaza, couldn’t you possibly find a more escapist poem then this???

  6. Mia–this poem is not part of the anthologized reactions to Gaza I mentioned in a subsequent post. Another poem by this poet (“Piyyut for the Days of Awe”) appears in that anthology.

  7. So please translate this poem at once, so we can hear the roar against war.

  8. Hi Mia. So rarely in English does the word “please” appear in the same sentence as the adverbial “at once” (particularly when one is requesting a poem which is even rarer) that I could not help but comply with your gentle but fervent request.

    Today’s post is a translation (fairly literal, which works for this poem but not so much the others) of a poem from the anthology Latzet, by Tomer Gardi. It’s got some roar.

    I hope to translate some more of these (including Eran Tzelgov’s which moved me alot) but they will take a little more time. Meanwhile, I posted Tova Forti’s translation of an Amichai poem that alludes to the aqedah (the binding of Isaac) in anticipation of requests like yours. The aqedah is a durable allusion for poetic responses to war (e.g., see here or here).

    Meanwhile, if any other Hebrew readers are inspired by Latzet to make your own translations, feel free to let us know what you come up with.

    Thanks again, Mia. Yours is the kind of sensibility that golempoem was set up to provoke. Stay tuned…Matt

  9. Is this the best poem you could come up with from the anthology? why did you choose to translate it? can you explain it to me – what is its meaning and siginifcane.

    Thanks.

  10. Thanks Mia. You ask 4 questions. My answers:

    (1) All things considered, particularly my desire to produce a reasonable translation very quickly, I guess the answer is yes, this is the best poem to translate today. Are there other poems in the anthology that moved me, perhaps even more than this one? Yes, but this one was the simplest and quickest to execute, and I like it. Some of the others will take more time (and collaboration, with the authors).

    (2) I chose to translate this poem by Tomer Gardi because, of all the poems in the anthology, its effect seemed to me to depend least on the fact that it starts out in Hebrew; hence, something close to a literal translation (quick!) The hard part of translating poems is not the words, but ensuring the result is a poem. Of course, by starting with this one, its place in the anthology–the effect of reading it in context–is lost.

    (3) I cannot tell you what this poem means, but I can discuss how it means for me. Go to (4)…

    (4) This relatively short poem has 3 distinct phases: (a) line 1; (b) lines 2-5 which repeat “Please!”; and (c) the final line which delivers what this poem is about (and all poems are about): disturbance. Isn’t the final line surprising? I found it to be. Moreover, the idea that coming clean on war may means keeping the shit where everyone will see (and smell) it might have some appeal for those of us in the USA who’ve been living through the simulacrum of the Iraq war all these years.

    Hope that helps. In sum, the only way to transmit the effect of the anthology would be to have several translators work on the entire collection, interacting with each other, and the Hebrew poets. This would take several hours a day for several months, I’d guess.

    I’m working on a translation of the first poem, which cannot be done without my interacting with the author. Hopefully, by next week.

    Thanks again, Matt

  11. I saw some dinosaur poetry by the same poet. Have you got it on your site?

  12. Nope. Haven’t seen anything like what you’re describing. Not really sure what “dinosaur poetry” means.

    But. the Golem’s interested and hopes you’ll send anything you’ve seen to golempoem@gmail.com.

    Thanks for visiting. Matt

  13. +
    בַּחוּץ עוֹד מִשְׁתּוֹלֶלֶת מִלְחָמָה
    אֲבָל הַדִּינוֹזָאוּרִים הָלְכוּ לִישׁוֹן
    וְאִיתָּם נֶעֶלְמָה הָעֲדִינוּת
    הֵד הַנְּחִירוֹת שֶׁלָּהֶם
    מַרְעִיד אֶת הָאֲוִיר
    וְאֶת קְצוֹת הַשְּׂעָרוֹת שֶׁלְּךָ
    אֲנִי מַאֲמִין שֶׁמָּחָר הֵם יַחְזְרוּ
    נוֹשְׂאִים עַל גַּבָּם אֶת הַפְּצוּעִים
    הַמֵּתִים וְרֵיחַ לֹא טָרִי בְּפִיהֶם
    אַתְּ תַּגִּידִי שֶׁדַּי נִמְאַס כְּבָר
    אֲנִי אֲכַבֶּה אֶת הָאוֹר
    וְאֵלֵךְ לִכְתֹּב עַל דִּינוֹזָאוּרִים
    כָּכָה זֶה בְּכָל מִלְחָמָה

    הַדִּינוֹזָאוּרִים עוֹד יְחַכּוּ לַבָּאִים אַחֲרֵינוּ

    this is one out of IV – great lyrical protest poetry

  14. Awesome. Thanks very much, Mark

  15. there are three more in this meledy.

  16. Is the poet still alive?
    jewish or palestinian?

  17. An Israeli poet. Very alive.

  18. well?

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