Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

The following is my best attempt to preserve the poetic nature of Hannah’s Song in I Samuel 2, by rendering it into English in rhyme, incorporating classic commentaries to elucidate its meaning.

I’m no Shakespeare, but I enjoyed the challenge of this undertaking, and I feel it makes this rendering more interesting and enjoyable to read than a direct translation. The original text is in I Samuel, Ch. 2, v. 1-10:

(1) I feel happy in my heart,

HaShem offered me a new start,

Now I may lift my head high,

HaShem is the reason why.

Penina spoke meanly to me,

For I had no children, you see,

But now I am very happy,

From Penina Hashem saved me,

For I can now open my mouth,

My son I can now speak about,

I am happy that I have a son,

I give thanks to the Holy One.

(2) There is none holy as You, Hashem,

There is no other that is like Him,

Like our God there is no other,

Forming a child inside a mother.

(3) Do not speak so arrogantly,

Penina, my rival, who was mean to me,

Do not allow the wrong kind of words

From your mouth to come out and be heard,

For what’s in your heart HaShem does know,

He counts all your deeds and the places you go.

(4) The bow of the mighty HaShem will break,

Giving strength to the stumbling and weak ones who ache.

Those who are hungry, HaShem will sate,

While for the full-bellied, hunger is their fate.

(5) Those who were once full of bread,

Will have to work to eat instead,

While those who worked to feed their hunger,

Will have so much food they’ll work no longer.

The one who had no children will give birth to seven sons,

While she with many children will mourn every one.

(6) HaShem takes life and HaShem gives it,

Raising up or lowering into the pit.

(7) HaShem makes people poor or rich,

HaShem lowers and HaShem lifts.

(8) HaShem in whom we trust,

Raises the poor from the dust,

From heaps of trash He will raise them up,

To seat them with the rich to sup,

A seat of honor shall be theirs,

With them His Glory He will share,

For the pillars of the earth belong to HaShem,

And man’s dwelling place He lays upon them.

(9) The feet of the pious HaShem will guard,

By no entrapment shall they be marred.

But the wicked in darkness will meet their end,

For a man succeeds not by the strength of his hand.

(10) HaShem will break His foes,

Even if to the heavens they rose,

From heaven upon them He blows,

Casting them down below.

HaShem will bring about justice for all,

He will give His King the strength to stand tall,

Hashem will give strength to the king He has appointed,

Increasing the kingdom of the one He has anointed.

From ברית אברהם (The Covenant of Abraham) by R’ Avraham haLevi Horowitz, father of the Shla”h (ch. 8):

לבי לבי הלא ידעת
כי עפר אתה
וכל ימיך חרוצים
וחייך קצוצים
ובכל יום תקרב אל הקבר
ותעוף בלי אבר
ומדוע אתה נמהר
ולא תעבור על לבך יום המר
יום תאבד עצתך
ונסרחה חכמתך
יום ישיאוך
על כתף יסבלוך
ואל ארץ תחתיות ישליכוך
ארץ ציה וצלמות
חצר מות
שם תפול עליך אימה
ותכסך כלימה
ולבושך גוש ורימה
הלא היום ההוא נורא ואיום
יום אשר אין לך פדיום
יום תמרר בבכיה תאניה ואניה
יום חרדה וצעקה
יום שואה ונעקה
יום מספד מר
יום תערוך אבל משמר מול משמר
יום יחרה אף הא-ל וקנאתו
ונצתה כאש חמתו
יום תצא הנשמה
וישאר הגוף שלך שממה
שוכב לבדו
ולא יהפך מצדו אל צדו
ואתה בן אדם אל מי ינוס לעזרה
או מי יהיה עליך סתרה
אז תאמר אוי לי מה עשיתי
ומדוע דבר ה’ בזיתי
ואחרי שרירות לבי פניתי