There are no windows in the house,
Neither beds nor chairs there be.We sup on olive-sized bits of bread
And for dessert sip cups of tea.The kettle brims with water-dew
O fellow, wet your maw!
Drink up two cups and another two
Then lie down on the straw.
The brunette reclining on the straw
For you with endless patience waits
And if this makes you queasy -
Fear not, it’s no disgrace.
Make love till a pillar of fire glows
Make love till the rising sun
But you must never ask “Why so?”
In reply - they’ll answer: Dunce!
We are princes of the spirit.
We are paupers of the coin.
All we savor
Is our labor
We’ll make love and we’ll rejoice.
We are tomorrow’s scions,
Ascended early on to Zion.
It is good to live for our country’s sake
And to labor as our voice we raise
To sing the Song of Ascents.
Translated from Hebrew by Vivian Eden.
From “Sufat Aviv,” Warsaw, 1934-35, reprinted in David Weinfeld, ed. “Hashira Ha’ivrit ben Shtei Milhamot Ha’olam (“Hebrew Poetry Between the Two World Wars”), Bialik Institute, Jerusalem, 1997.
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