Five More Translations of Alexander Penn

I surfer came upon my translation of Penn’s “Confessions” (the one that was used in a film) and I promised that I would, one day, post  my translations of  some of his other poems. So here they are.  When the songs were well-known folk songs, one of my goals was to render it singable!

Five translations.

(Because formatting the Hebrew in WordPress is a pain, I am simply providing links to the Hebrew.)

It Still Is — No!

Translation copyright Linda Yechiel

עדיין לא

The sun – a blistering hell.
The blasting wind — hot anger wrought.
To you, I will candidly say:
I cannot!

I can’t bear the shriek of the vulture,
nor the soil – all cactus and sand,
can’t bear life on the edge of a fissure —
just to proclaim my homeland.

An ancient frenzy stokes my fervor, oh –
but I can’t bear this hell … it still is – no!

* * * * *

A New Homeland

Translation copyright Linda Yechiel

מולדת חדשה

Musical rendition.

For this homeland that I knew not of before
nor of her fragrant breezes from orchards of gilt –
I’ve surrendered my soul, with joyous fervor,
To burn in the blaze of the Hamsin wind.

What is a life devoid of decadence and thunder,
without tempest of fire, or flash of the knife,
where an endless sun spews out her flames in anger,
lacking stretches of snow for hearts weary of life?

I adore her sands and her clubs and her swords,
I cherish this place – yes this one – my home –
tall and thin – like a quavering song,
All alone amongst the cactus will I roam.

So my song of the wild has changed and it’s new,
tossed into your sandy heart, this is now my fate.
Two homelands I have: Russia and here
And I’ve knowingly fastened the gate.

* * * * * 

The Song of the Drunkard

Translation copyright Linda Yechiel

שיר השיכור
With music, sung by Arik Lavie (very old recording!)

The road seems to be, oh, so long and extended,
The serpentine path curls away,
I’m swaying and reeling and you are so distant
The moon is much closer, I’d say.

I’m reeling, I know, but what’s the big deal?
The whole world is reeling so, too.
To the left? To the right? I’ll tell you the truth,
At the moment I haven’t a clue.         

My head’s in a sky that is festooned with stars
A blanket of vino: a cloud
I’m reeling and searching through masses of billows,
You seem to be lost in the crowd.

I’ve bumped into something! A cop or a post?
So drunk yet so brave is this post.
Just like me and like you, it’s forsaken, alone,
And lost in the gloom like a ghost.

I’m reeling non-stop, cannot stop, cannot cease –
take a step, stand up tall, and then sprawl.
Tell me why do you think it is better to suffer,
and why does my reeling appall?

So I’ll continue to reel till my light has turned dim,
until I can’t straighten my knee –
and still you won’t fathom the soul of the lush,
whose path he just can’t seem to see.

Bye bye, dearest pillar, it isn’t my fault
your lamps look like eyes all askew.
Her eyes were as bright as the evening star,
her heart a hot wind blazing through.

Goodbye, but we’ll meet yet, I’ll walk very slow –
My feet know just where they should be.
Perhaps I am reeling, but I’m not alone,
A drunk world is reeling with me.

* * * * *

On the Hills of Sheikh Abreik and Hartia

Translation copyright Linda Yechiel

עַל גִּבְעוֹת שֵׁיח’ אַבְּרֵיק   (אדמה, אדמתי

Note: This is a popular folk song in Israel, so here my prime goal was to render it “singable” to the folk tune (this is the popular version sung by Yehoram Gaon).

Land, oh land, you’re my land
Beloved to me till my end.
Wild winds churn and roil all your ruins
Wild winds churn and roil.
   We are one, joined by blood
   Silent and blood red
On the hills of Sheikh Abreik, and Hartia.

Undulating waves of dancing
Arc and form into circles.
Rise, bright sun, forever in Hartia,
Rise, bright sun in Hartia!
   Through the nights and through the days,
   My Jewish labor pays
On the hills of Sheikh Abreik, and Hartia.

Olive trees, their crowns a-rustle
chant: Yeah, this is my homeland.
Every rock whispers: Yes, I know him.
Whispers: Yes, I know him.
   On the summit, dance a hora,
   Hail my harvest, ripe and gold
On the hills of Sheikh Abreik, and Hartia.

An impassioned promise made
now you’re captive to me.
No, my heart will not renege its sacred vow,
Not renege its sacred vow.
   For great freedom calls to me,
   a man of mere simplicity,
On the hills of Sheikh Abreik, and Hartia. 


* * * * *

Romance

Translation copyright Linda Yechiel

רומאנס – היה או לא היה

Every chance encounter reveals a hidden room,
and every first coquettish glance – a lilac’s nascent bloom.
It was or it wasn’t – there are nights such as this:
his night was not yours, though your night was all his.

They met quite by chance, but chance meetings are had,
he was somber and drunk, she had been rather sad.
“This world is astounding,” he ventured to say,
“If a wonder like you can come into my day.”

She loved him so much, he - the drink was his passion,
but both loved the night in the street in its fashion.
Each midnight, he’d lead her to her house of the moon,
to his beaming “Rest well,” she would just say
 “Goodnight!”

It was or it wasn’t – to me the meaning’s blurred,
their meeting was a symphony that never was quite heard …
For him each chance encounter was just a fatal whim:
his night was not for her, though she would give her night to him!
                                                                           
She loved him so much, he – loved just the bars,
though both found much pleasure in gathering stars.
The moon had a fondness for both her and the other,
the moon still loves love, and it loves every lover.

They stood and were silent, no words filled the air.
The only caress was his gaze on her hair.
She envied the goblet for which his lips pined,
his passion to kiss just the fruit of the vine.

Was it or wasn’t it? Was she foolish? Naive?
Nights led to her threshold, and then he would leave ...
Was it or wasn’t it – a reverie? A wonder?
Her night was all for him, his night was not for her.

The days lost their patience, couldn’t wait any more,
because life must continue its row to the shore.
She thought, What a trick this world’s played on me,
if I can love this man – so much, so totally.

Her love was for him, but his – where he drank,
though both of them loved the keenness of angst.
But then the moon heard – and shivered in fright
At the words that she finally told him one night:

“Was it or wasn’t it? This tryst I can’t define.
My night was all yours, but your night was not mine.
In very chance encounter, there is an ending you can see:
I am tired of my love for you … Goodbye, you’re not for me!”
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Something to brag about – A Confession

Gila Almagor

Yesterday (Friday January 12th, 2018) was the world premiere screening of a film about the great Israeli actress Gila Almagor.

I am proud to say that my English translation of the poem “Confessions” (Vidu’i) by  renowned Israeli-Russian poet Alexander Penn was chosen for the subtitles when she (Ms. Almagor) sang the song in the film.

My name appeared in the credits (Translation to Engish of “Confessions” – Linda Yechiel).

Because the screening was for a Hebrew-speaking audience, the subtitles in the version we saw were NOT in Hebrew. That is for editions that will distributed for foreign audiences.

What I’m not proud to say, and must confess, is that I didn’t have the presence of mind to actually film my name rolling up the screen. (Eyes rolling.) But I have to say, it was a thrill!

Why Everyone Needs to Know at Least a BIT about “Styles” in WORD

“Styles” is a very powerful tool in WORD and a basic understanding of it and will save a lot of  time! Really, a LOT of time!

Here is my very basic primer about STYLES. Why you need to understand and use Styles

Click on the link above to open a pdf document. It’s long (11 pages) because there are lots of pictures! (If you want to print it, you don’t need to print the last two pages.)

 

 

My Name in Print

Finally! A book (actually two!) that I have translated has been published and my name appears.

I did two books years ago, but through “oversight” my name didn’t appear (mainly that I was too much a newbie to make sure my contract stipulated this).

Most of the other books I have translated since then are still looking for English publishers. (The English-to-Hebrew route is much different since the Israeli publisher has already bought the rights to the book and has it translated and published as soon as possible. Hebrew books are often translated before a publisher is found.)

However, ta da!  Within a week I received two packages in the mail.

And the second (translated three years ago!)

themagicwoodcoverchange-and-invariance-ackn

 

Sample Translations of Children’s Books

Please click on the links to see some sample translations for children’s books.

You will see how I often had to change the “exact” wording to make the English text rhyme, while still keeping the original idea.

Because of the different syntax and the fact that (obviously) two words that rhyme in one language will generally not rhyme in the other, creative solutions are always required.

When “creating” solutions, I also take into account the rhythm and rhyming schemes in the source language. But my goal is always to make the English text as engaging as the source.

Cohen-Asisif_King_Solomons_Tiger_web(2)robby-redhead

gaya dickermanedelman sun

 

 

 

linda-yechiel-a-selection-of-sample-trans
lations-for-childrens-rhyming-books

 

A very short sample from the over 3,ooo words of rhyme in the book, The Bell Maiden, by Nava Semel.

bell-maiden

אֵין לִי מְנוּחָה

מַמְלַכְתִּי אַדִּירָה

אֲבָל אֵין בִּי שִׂמְחָה

רֵיק, רֵיק, רֵיק

שָׁכַחְתִּי אֵיךְ לְנַשֵּׁק, לְחַבֵּק

כְּאִילּוּ אֲנִי מֵת

אֲפִילּוּ דִּמְעָה מְסָרֶבֶת לָצֵאת

מַה שֶּׁהָיָה לִי אֵי פַּעַם

רַק צְלִיל מּופְלָא – הוּא יָשִׁיב לִי הַטַּעַם.

 

I have possessions beyond measure,

but nothing brings me pleasure.

I can’t fall asleep,

I can’t find any peace.

                               

All is empty, all is amiss,

I’ve forgotten the joy of a hug or a kiss.

My heart is like stone, no tears can I shed,

I have no emotions, inside I am dead.

 

I believe only music that is perfect and true

will bring back the gladness that at one time I knew.

 

 

purple-feather-piven-sample-translation

piven-purple-feather

Updating a bit – MA

13502102_10154222873603150_8200564622458086649_nA notice of a new post went out, but clicking on it led to a “dead page.” The post was a mistake, obviously. I have been updating and rearranging this blog today (mostly moving a lot of my creative writing over to its own “page.”

However, if I’m already updating (which I haven’t done in way too long!), I am happy to announce that I received my MA in English Literature and Literary Translation from Bar Ilan University (magna cum laude).

The program (Literary Translation, under the direction of Evan Fallenberg) was a “first” and I was one of eight students in the first class. I believe only 4 graduated that particular program.

I actually finished the degree at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year, but the ceremony was just this July.

20160629_183130

Blurry pic of me in my robe. There were no mortarboards for the graduates.

Alexander Penn – Translation. Confession.

Translation by Linda Yechiel is Copyrighted. No part may be used for any reason whatsoever without express permission from the translator.

Update: January 2018. Excerpts of this translation were used with permission for the international version of  the film “Personal Conversations – Gila Almagor” (2017), directed by Adi Arbel and produced by Liran Atzmor.

Hebrew poem can be viewed on Shironet here.

Confession

The bridge’s sole lamp lit my coat, very plain,

the cool autumn eve and my lips damp from rain –

that’s how you first saw me, do you recall?

And I knew from the first, just like night follows day

we were meant for each other in every which way,

and you’d come back to me like a boat in a squall.

We were bitterly poor and your rage burned inside,

and you cursed me with death not just once, not just twice,

but my shoulders, so cold, shook with joy and with bliss;

since I knew from the first, just like night follows day,

when they bring you – I caused it – all shackled in chains

even then, I would welcome you back with a kiss.

Yes, it was really not good, in fact, dreadful – not right,

but remember our meeting that one special night;

If it happens again don’t let anything change,

just the same special love, deprived and defiant,

with the same modest coat, with the same rose design,

with the same little dress that is simple and plain.

If it happens again don’t let anything change,

every detail should be just the same once again.

I was jealous of you and would lurk in the shadow

and my love was so great that it filled me with sorrow

and our house knew no laughter or glee.

You would come home at last, beaten down like a mongrel,

and vent out on me that they called you a scoundrel,

and I’d know that you’d thought then of me.

Then one night you took off, you just left me abruptly,

slammed out for good, though I carried your baby,

and my world turned dark, but my heart didn’t break;

Since it was clear to me like night follows day,

that you’d come back to me: for forgiveness you’d pray,

and I’d look into your eyes and would say:

Yes, it was really not good, in fact, dreadful – not right,

but it was perfectly right that we met on that night;

If it happens again don’t let anything change,

just the same special love, deprived and defiant,

with the same modest coat, with the same rose design,

with the same little dress that is simple and plain.

If it happens again don’t let anything change,

every detail should be just the same once again.

I knew that for me love won’t come from another,

and I knew: by your hand, my own death I will suffer,

and I wait eagerly for my due.

It might come all at once, like an ax or an arrow,

or creep over me slowly with torture and sorrow,

but not from a stranger – from you.

Then I’ll come to your house, when you’re lonely and damned,

I’ll return in a dream, precious fool that I am,

and will say: I am here, can’t you see?

Since it was clear to me always, like night follows day,

that while you are sleeping I’d show you the way,

until you have come back to me.

Yes, it was really not good, in fact, dreadful – not right,

But my witness is God who has ordained my fate:

If it happens again don’t let anything change,

just the same special love, deprived and defiant,

with the same modest coat, with the same rose design,

with the same little dress that is simple and plain.

If it happens again don’t let anything change,

every detail should be just the same once again.