Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First Day of Fall

(Image: Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Autumn, 1573)

כתב סתיו בדיו מטריו וברביביו
ובעט ברקיו המאירים וכף עביו
מכתב עלי גן מתכלת וארגמן
לא נתכנו כהם לחושב במחשביו
לכן בעת חמדה אדמה פני שחק
רקמה עלי בדי ערוגות ככוכביו

[Autumn, by the ink of its showers and rain,
by the quill of its lightning and the hand of its clouds,
wrote a letter upon a garden, in purple and blue,
the like of which is not conceived in thought.
And for this, the earth, coveting the sky,
embroidered stars upon the cloth of its garden-beds.]

--Shlomo ibn Gabirol

As the span of a year feels like it passes always more quickly, it seems worthwhile to pause and note the beginning of a new season. This poem has made an appearance before for different purposes in another iteration of this site. Reuse itself, however, strikes me as an apt metaphor for the cyclical changing of the seasons. Or, at least, that is the excuse upon which I am relying. Surprising as it might be, I don't know another medieval Hebrew poem about autumn off the top of my head.

Also, let's disregard the fact that סתיו--which is the modern Hebrew word for autumn--most likely refers to winter or the rainy season in the medieval, Andalusian context of the poem.

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