I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. — Og Mandino

po_Alterman-NathanNathan Alterman (August 14, 1910 – March 28, 1970) was an Israeli poet, playwright, journalist, and translator who – though never holding any elected office – was highly influential in Socialist Zionist politics, both before and after the establishment of the State of Israel.

 

 

 

THE FOUNDLING
Nathan Alterman

My mother laid me at the foot of the fence
on my back. Quiet and wrinkled.
and as if in a well, I gazed from below,
’til she fled as one who flees from a blow.
And I gazed at her, as if from in a well
and the moon, like a candle, raised above us on high

But before the dawn’s light
that very same night
I slowly arose
at the appointed hour
and returned to my mother’s house
like a ball returning
to one who kicked it away
I return to her house, like a ball rolling back
and caress her neck
with hands of shade

In the sight of the Supreme
from her neck she tore me,
as if I were a leech
but when night came down
I returned as before
and this has become our pact:
as before, at night-fall, I return
and nightly she bows to the yoke

and the doors of her dream are wide open to me
and no person is there but I
because the love of our souls remains taught
like a bow, from the day I was born
because the love of our souls remains taught
and can never be given or taken away…

Thus ’til the end, God has not moved me
from the heart of my protesting parent
and I- who was severed without being weaned
will not be weaned or cleft
and I- who was severed without being weaned
enter her house and lock the gate

She aged in my jail and grew barren and shrank
and her face grew folds like my own
then I dressed her in white with my tiny hands
like a mother dresses her living babe
then I dressed her in white with my tiny hands
and carried her off without saying to where

And I placed her at the foot of the fence.
Gazing quietly on her back
and she looked at me, laughing, as if from a well
and we knew our battle was done
and she looked at me, laughing, as if from a well
and the moon, like a candle, raised above us on high

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NIGGUN ATIK

Nathan Alterman

If your tears flow at night like a river,
My joy I shall kindle like straw,
My bed, if you shiver, will warm you,
I shall cover you, sleep on the floor.

If you yearn to join into the dancing
I will play till my bowstrings all break,
If a gift for your birthday you fancy,
My life it is yours, love, to take.

If bread or if wine you are wanting
Head bowed, I will stay on my feet
‘Til I’ve sold both my eyes in the market
So my darling can drink and can eat.

But if ever when I am not with you,
you laugh and carouse without thought,
I’ll burn down the rafters above you
With the anger my jealousy’s wrought.