Monday, January 07, 2008

Something Else



I am glad to say that I am back on my feet. The haze of tonsillitis lifted on Saturday and I began to eat, to hug my kids, to be part of the family unit again. I tell you, I was on another planet for four days straight. whew! Let's just say that I am certainly grateful for antibiotics. I tend away from them, since we are such an overmedicated world right now. And in the hospital, there is no end to the hubbub about "super bugs" from "over use of antibiotics." But when you need them, YOU NEED THEM. yep. And I am glad glad for them.


Enough about that.


I was going through some old letters today. And I came across a beautiful poem from a dear and beautiful friend. It is called A Child is Something Else Again, and is written by an Israeli poet named Yehuda Amichai.


**A child is something else again. Wakes up

in the afternoon and in an instant he's full of words,

in an instant he's humming, in an instant warm,

instant light, instant darkness.


A child is Job. They've already placed their bets on him

but he doesn't know it. He scratches his body

for pleasure. Nothing hurts yet.

They're training him to be polite Job,

to say "Thank you" when the Lord has given

to say "You're Welcome" when the Lord has taken away.


A child is vengeance.

A child is a missile into the coming generations.

I launched him: I'm still trembling.


A child is something else again: on a rainy springday

glimpsing the Garden of Eden through the fence,

kissing him in his sleep,

hearing footsteps in the wet pine needles.

A child delivers you from death.

Child, Garden, Rain, Fate.**



And one more from a favorite, ee cummings:


--how fortunate are you and i,

whose home is timelessness: we who have wandered down

from fragrant mountains of eternal now

to frolic in such mysteries as birth

and death a day (or maybe even less).


I am here, grateful for the chance to "frolic in such mysteries" and to press in, knowing there is more. Abundance. It is the New Year once again

13 comments:

elizabeth said...

glad you are feeling better! praying that this new year will be one with God's blessings for you and family :)

Ann V.@HolyExperience said...

What a beautiful place! Your profile: "integration"--my heart nods adamantly! A one-piece life...
And the poem from e.e. cummings gave me goosebumps...
Our home *is* timelessness! Eternity.. His heart.
Yes.
Thank you...
All's grace,
Ann

Cat said...

Hello my friend,Kelly. The lovely MisS Jenny just past on to me you beautiful blog spot...so I will now be a visitor as I hope you will be to mine. good to wee you at Jen's loved the busten' of the moves!!!!
Blessings
Catherine

Cat said...

*

Anonymous said...

i love love love both the photos & the poems. and i'm glad you are feeling better! (from tamie)

mamamouse said...

that's one of my favourite cummings' too...

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Anonymous said...

Hello! This post of yours is rather old now, and perhaps you are no longer reading replies. In any event, I thought I would leave this note. I was doing some research on Yehuda Amichai, who was, of course, a great poet, and came across this post of yours. I wanted to let you know that, in my humble opinion, the translation that you posted of this particular poem, while rather good, is not completely correct. (Please understand that I've been speaking Hebrew for many, many years, since long before my Bar Mitzvah, and that was a long, long time ago.)

The translation you posted has: "He scratches his body for pleasure. Nothing hurts yet." The Hebrew original of Amichai actually reads:

.הוא מתגרד בגופו להנאה ואין עוד כאב

I am guessing that you don't speak Hebrew, but the point I want to make is that this actually ONE sentence, not two. It actually should translate to: "He scratches his body for pleasure and nothing hurts yet." To my reading there is a subtle difference in the meaning: my literal translation implies that that which doesn't hurt yet is something that doesn't hurt even though the child has scratched himself - in other words, unlike adults, the child isn't hurting himself by "scratching for pleasure." In splitting this into two sentences, the translation you found implies that the scratching for pleasure on the one hand, and the fact that nothing hurts yet on the other, might just be two different facts. I don't think that is what Yehuda meant.

In addition, the translation you used reads: " ... to say 'Thank you' when the Lord has given
to say 'You're Welcome' when the Lord has taken away."

My quibble here (in addition to the fact that this translation leaves out the conjunction "and" between the two clauses, while the word "and" IS used in Amichai's Hebrew original) is the use of the word "when" at two different places in this passage. The Hebrew original reads:

לומר "תודה" שאדוני נתן, ולומר "בבקשה" שאדוני לקח

The literal (and, in this instance, poetically correct, in my opinion) translation should be "to say 'thank you' that G-d has given, and to say 'you're welcome' that G-d has taken away."

The PAST tense is used here by Yehuda, in referring to the actions of G-d (Amichai wrote "has given" and "has taken away," as opposed to "when the Lord has given," etc., as in the translation that you found). To my mind, the difference is that Yehuda meant that the actions of G-d to which he refers in the poem have ALREADY happened.

Anyway, enough rambling on my part.

Sincerely, A Reader.

Anonymous said...

Hello! This post of yours is rather old now, and perhaps you are no longer reading replies. In any event, I thought I would leave this note. I was doing some research on Yehuda Amichai, who was, of course, a great poet, and came across this post of yours. I wanted to let you know that, in my humble opinion, the translation that you posted of this particular poem, while rather good, is not completely correct. (Please understand that I've been speaking Hebrew for many, many years, since long before my Bar Mitzvah, and that was a long, long time ago.)

The translation you posted has: "He scratches his body for pleasure. Nothing hurts yet." The Hebrew original of Amichai actually reads:

.הוא מתגרד בגופו להנאה ואין עוד כאב

I am guessing that you don't speak Hebrew, but the point I want to make is that this actually ONE sentence, not two. It actually should translate to: "He scratches his body for pleasure and nothing hurts yet." To my reading there is a subtle difference in the meaning: my literal translation implies that that which doesn't hurt yet is something that doesn't hurt even though the child has scratched himself - in other words, unlike adults, the child isn't hurting himself by "scratching for pleasure." In splitting this into two sentences, the translation you found implies that the scratching for pleasure on the one hand, and the fact that nothing hurts yet on the other, might just be two different facts. I don't think that is what Yehuda meant.

In addition, the translation you used reads: " ... to say 'Thank you' when the Lord has given
to say 'You're Welcome' when the Lord has taken away."

My quibble here (in addition to the fact that this translation leaves out the conjunction "and" between the two clauses, while the word "and" IS used in Amichai's Hebrew original) is the use of the word "when" at two different places in this passage. The Hebrew original reads:

לומר "תודה" שאדוני נתן, ולומר "בבקשה" שאדוני לקח

The literal (and, in this instance, poetically correct, in my opinion) translation should be "to say 'thank you' that G-d has given, and to say 'you're welcome' that G-d has taken away."

The PAST tense is used here by Yehuda, in referring to the actions of G-d (Amichai wrote "has given" and "has taken away," as opposed to "when the Lord has given," etc., as in the translation that you found). To my mind, the difference is that Yehuda meant that the actions of G-d to which he refers in the poem have ALREADY happened.

Anyway, enough rambling on my part.

Sincerely, A Reader.

Anonymous said...

Hello! This post of yours is rather old now, and perhaps you are no longer reading replies. In any event, I thought I would leave this note. I was doing some research on Yehuda Amichai, who was, of course, a great poet, and came across this post of yours. I wanted to let you know that, in my humble opinion, the translation that you posted of this particular poem, while rather good, is not completely correct. (Please understand that I've been speaking Hebrew for many, many years, since long before my Bar Mitzvah, and that was a long, long time ago.)

The translation you posted has: "He scratches his body for pleasure. Nothing hurts yet." The Hebrew original of Amichai actually reads:

.הוא מתגרד בגופו להנאה ואין עוד כאב

I am guessing that you don't speak Hebrew, but the point I want to make is that this actually ONE sentence, not two. It actually should translate to: "He scratches his body for pleasure and nothing hurts yet." To my reading there is a subtle difference in the meaning: my literal translation implies that that which doesn't hurt yet is something that doesn't hurt even though the child has scratched himself - in other words, unlike adults, the child isn't hurting himself by "scratching for pleasure." In splitting this into two sentences, the translation you found implies that the scratching for pleasure on the one hand, and the fact that nothing hurts yet on the other, might just be two different facts. I don't think that is what Yehuda meant.

In addition, the translation you used reads: " ... to say 'Thank you' when the Lord has given
to say 'You're Welcome' when the Lord has taken away."

My quibble here (in addition to the fact that this translation leaves out the conjunction "and" between the two clauses, while the word "and" IS used in Amichai's Hebrew original) is the use of the word "when" at two different places in this passage. The Hebrew original reads:

לומר "תודה" שאדוני נתן, ולומר "בבקשה" שאדוני לקח

The literal (and, in this instance, poetically correct, in my opinion) translation should be "to say 'thank you' that G-d has given, and to say 'you're welcome' that G-d has taken away."

The PAST tense is used here by Yehuda, in referring to the actions of G-d (Amichai wrote "has given" and "has taken away," as opposed to "when the Lord has given," etc., as in the translation that you found). To my mind, the difference is that Yehuda meant that the actions of G-d to which he refers in the poem have ALREADY happened.

Anyway, enough rambling on my part.

Sincerely, A Reader.

Anonymous said...

Ooops - sorry about the multiple copies of my post - not sure how that happened.

A Reader.

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Anonymous said...

Hey, I was reading the comment which explains the meaning of the first poem. I want to understand the poem so could you explain more about the poem?