Hunting a Witch

A selection of English translations of work by the Israeli poet Nadavi Noked.

As a translator of poems and songs I am extremely interested in the creative process that can help words cross oceans. That inspires me to write poems about the translation of poetry as well as about the image of the translator. Another theme I am highly interested in is the relationship between human beings and machines and how this relationship shapes art, society, literary criticism and day-to-day life. The physical is entwined with the metaphysical, the household chores with witchcraft and the harsh realism with momentary technology-induced illusions. 

Translation (A homage to “Poetry” by Hezy Leskly)

Translation, too, must stand and speak.

It cannot hide behind a washing machine
of words and meanings, claiming it is a mere translation.
It must muse itself as if nothing was written ever before.

It must believe it is original, and an origin

and if it pleases, it can be fragmented and inflected
and it can hold fast to time

and correspond with the place

and hum and be hummed in new scales
and gather to itself pieces of the world that did not exist before
and divert rivers
and be wrapped in youth
and sand mountains

and create sounds that are not merely echoes and shadows

and uproot laziness and conventionality, since

it must never, never, never be too well behaved,

and remain loyal solely for the sake of remaining loyal.

If at all, it should remain loyal to itself

by pledging loyalty to the word

to the music of the word

and to the new humanity, that it meets along the new language.

And on the way it might switch vehicles

and change its direction and its ceremonial clothing

and its sex and its gender and its money
and convert its religion

and emerge to the world in great poverty

to find an entirely new way to retell itself for the very first time.

And it can also be teleported through a prism

and can be shattered to a random number of pieces

and can be sawed by poets

and can absorb shotguns bullets

to become a confetti cloud of whirlwindy letters,

or it can trace the lyrical engravings

of bark beetles

or spin n times in a machine

or rot in a vase for a year

until it gleans new essences from its core.

Translation is Sanctity beyond Script and Scripture.

It is the time machine and the spaceship of the poem.

It is the axis of development of its life

 

 

 

תַּרְגּוּם (בעקבות “שירה” / חזי לסקלי)

.גַּם תַּרְגּוּם חַיָּב לַעֲמֹד וּלְדַבֵּר
הוּא אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל
לְהִתְחַבֵּא מֵאֲחוֹרֵי מְכוֹנַת כְּבִיסָה
שֶׁל מִלִּים וּמַשְׁמָעוּת
.בְּטַעֲנָה שֶׁהוּא רַק תַּרְגּוּם
הוּא חַיָּב לְהִשְׁתּוֹרֵר
.כְּאִלּוּ לְפָנָיו לֹא נִכְתַּב דָּבָר
,הוּא חַיָּב לְהַאֲמִין שֶׁהוּא מָקוֹר
,וּמְקוֹרִי
,וְאִם הוּא רוֹצֶה
,הוּא יָכוֹל לְהִגָּזֵר
,וּלְהִדָּבֵק לַזְּמַן
,וּלְהִדָּבֵר עִם הַמָּקוֹם
,וּלְהִזְדַּמְזֵם בְּסֻלָּמוֹת חֲדָשִׁים
,וּלְכַנֵּס לְתוֹכוֹ פִּסּוֹת עוֹלָם שֶׁלֹּא הָיוּ קַיָּמוֹת קֹדֶם
,וּלְהַטּוֹת נְהָרוֹת
,וְלַעֲטוֹת נְעוּרִים
,וּלְשַׁיֵּף הָרִים
,וּלְהָפִיק צְלִילִים שֶׁאֵינָם רַק הֵדִים וּצְלָלִים
,וּלְנַכֵּשׁ עַצְלָנוּת וְשַׁמְרָנוּת
כִּי
אָסוּר, אָסוּר, אָסוּר לוֹ
,לְהִתְנַהֵג יָפֶה מִדַּי
.וְלִשְׁמֹר אֱמוּנִים רַק לְשֵׁם שְׁמִירַת הָאֱמוּנִים
,אִם כְּבָר
עָלָיו לִהְיוֹת נֶאֱמָן לְעַצְמוֹ
בְּכָךְ שֶׁיִּהְיֶה נֶאֱמָן
,לַמִּלָּה
לַמּוּזִיקָה שֶׁל הַמִּלָּה
.וְלָאֱנוֹשׁוּת הַחֲדָשָׁה, שֶׁהוּא פּוֹגֵשׁ בַּשָּׂפָה הַחֲדָשָׁה
וְיִתָּכֵן שֶׁהוּא יַחְלִיף בַּדֶּרֶךְ
,כְּלֵי תַּחְבּוּרָה
,וְכִוּוּנֵי נְסִיעָה
,וּבִגְדֵי טֶקֶס
,וִישַׁנֶּה אֶת מִינוֹ וְאֶת מִגְדָּרוֹ
,וְיָמִיר אֶת דָּתוֹ וְאֶת כַּסְפּוֹ
,וְיֵצֵא לָעוֹלָם חֲסַר כֹּל
כְּדֵי לִמְצֹא דֶּרֶךְ חֲדָשָׁה לַחֲלוּטִין

.לוֹמַר אֶת עַצְמוֹ לָרִאשׁוֹנָה
,וְהוּא יָכוֹל גַּם לַעֲבֹר טֵלֶפּוֹרְטַצְיָה

,הִתְעַתְּקוּת – דֶּרֶךְ מִנְסָרָה
,וּלְהִתְרַסֵּק לְמִסְפָּר אַקְרָאִי שֶׁל רְסִיסִים
,וּלְהִתְנַסֵּר בִּידֵי מְשׁוֹרְרִים
וְלִסְפֹּג קְלִיעֵי רוֹבֵה צַיָּדִים
,כְּדֵי לְהִתְקַנְפֵט בַּעֲנַן אוֹתִיּוֹת מְעֻרְבָּל
אוֹ לְהִתְחַקּוֹת אַחַר מַסְלוּלָן הַלִּירִי

,שֶׁל חִפּוּשִׁיּוֹת עֵץ
,אוֹ לְהִסְתַּחְרֵר-n סְפוֹר פְּעָמִים בִּמְכוֹנָה
אוֹ לְהֵרָקֵב בַּאֲגַרְטָל בְּמֶשֶׁךְ שָׁנָה
.עַד שֶׁיִּדְלֶה מֵעַצְמוֹ מַהוּיוֹת חֲדָשׁוֹת
.תַּרְגּוּם הוּא קֹדֶשׁ שֶׁמֵּעֵבֶר לַכְּתָב
הוּא מְכוֹנַת הַזְּמַן
.וְהַחֲלָלִית שֶׁל הַשִּׁיר
הוּא צִיר הַהִתְפַּתְּחוּת שֶׁל חַיָּיו

 

 

 

Hunting a Witch

More than anything

I want to hunt a witch,

to hunt her as she comes back from work

before she sneaks out again to a bat design

session or to a Zumba snake

invocation or to run some errands and do some shopping

or for some chattering in the nearby forest,

as the tumble dryer tumbles under drying bedclothes,

more than anything I want to hunt a witch.

 

I want

to swirl above

the fiery cauldron of boiling cherry steam,

to tell the fortune of the remaining bags of tea,

to store away all the crystal spheres

and ask the one who bewitched me,

here, from now

until I die –

 

How was your day, my dear?

 

 

לָצוּד מְכַשֵּׁפָה 

יוֹתֵר מִכֹּל אֲנִי רוֹצֶה
.לָצוּד מְכַשֵּׁפָה
לָצוּד אוֹתָהּ בַּדֶּרֶךְ חֲזָרָה הַבַּיְתָה
מִיּוֹם הָעֲבוֹדָה, לִפְנֵי
שֶׁשּׁוּב חוֹמֶקֶת לְעִצּוּב
עֲטַלֵּפִים אוֹ לְזוּמְבָּה
נְחָשִׁים אוֹ לִקְנִיּוֹת וְסִדּוּרִים
,אוֹ לִפְגִישׁוֹת חֻלִּין בַּיַּעַר הַסָּמוּךְ
,כְּשֶׁהַמְּיַבֵּשׁ עוֹד מִתְיַבֵּשׁ מֵהַסְּדִינִים הַלְּבָנִים
.יוֹתֵר מִכֹּל אֲנִי רוֹצֶה לָצוּד מְכַשֵּׁפָה

רוֹצֶה
לְהִתְעַרְבֵּל מֵעַל קַלַּחַת
,שֶׁל תֵּה דֻּבְדְּבָנִים
,לְנַחֵשׁ אֶת הֶעָתִיד שֶׁל שְׁאֵרִית הַתֵּיוֹנִים
לְהוֹתִיר אֶת עֲרֵמוֹת הַבְּדֹלַח בָּאָרוֹן

,וְלִשְׁאֹל אֶת זוֹ שֶׁכִּשְּׁפָה אוֹתִי
מֵעַכְשָׁו
:וְעַד יוֹם מוֹתִי

,אֵיךְ הָיָה הַיּוֹם שֶׁלָּךְ
?יַקִּירָתִי

 

 

*

I walk in the woods.

I see a bear.

I realize it’s over.

I recall I too am a bear.

I realize it’s the beginning.

 

[English version by Rotem Alter]

 

 

.הוֹלֵךְ בַּיַּעַר
.רוֹאֶה דֹּב
.מֵבִין שֶׁזֶּה הַסּוֹף
.נִזְכָּר שֶׁגַּם אֲנִי דֹּב
מֵבִין שֶׁזּוֹ הַהַתְחָלָה

 

 

 

 

Subject

In Japanese

there is a particular word that describes the nature of the blurring

and I

live better out of focus,

in a world that worships the accuracy and sharpness

of the photo’s subject,

in areas where the soil merges

with the sunflower stems,

and the erect hills in the background,

and the soft sunlight from the side,

and a hint of a tossed piece of clothing

and in the center there

 

you are

 

 

נוֹשֵׂא

יֵשׁ בְּיַפָּנִית
מִלָּה מְיֻחֶדֶת לְתֵאוּר אֵיכוּת הַטִּשְׁטוּשׁ
וַאֲנִי
,חַי טוֹב יוֹתֵר מִחוּץ לַפוֹקוּס
,בְּעוֹלָם שֶׁסּוֹגֵד לְדִיּוּק וְחַדּוּת נוֹשֵׂא הַתְּמוּנָה
בִּמְקוֹמוֹת שֶׁבָּהֶם הָאֲדָמָה מִתְמַזֶּגֶת
,עִם גִּבְעוֹלֵי הַחַמָּנִיּוֹת
,וְהַגְּבָעוֹת הַזְּקוּרוֹת בָּרֶקַע
,וְשֶׁמֶשׁ צַד
,וְרֶמֶז בֶּגֶד שָׁמוּט
וּבַמֶּרְכָּז

אַתְּ

 

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