עִם שָׁמֶשׁ | At Sunrise, a poem by Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik (1903)

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

עִם שָׁמֶשׁ
At Sunrise

עִם־שֶׁמֶשׁ הַשְׁכִּימוּ לֶהָרִים – וּמְצָאתֶם
הַזָּהָב הַטּוֹב וְהַכָּתֶם.
וִהְיִיתֶם רִאשׁוֹנִים לְאוֹר שֶׁמֶשׁ, וּשְׁאָבוֹ
אִישׁ אִישׁ מְלֹא נִשְׁמָתוֹ וּלְבָבוֹ.
וִיקַר בֹּקֶר־אֵל, בְּעוֹדוֹ חָדָשׁ וְרָטֹב,
יַעֲבָרְכֶם־נָא עָבֹר וְשָׁטֹף,
וְכָל־נוֹשָׁן וּבָלֶה בִלְבַבְכֶם –
   יִתְחַדָּשׁ!
וְכָל־פִּגּוּל וּפְסוּל בּוֹ –
   יִתְקַדָּשׁ!
וּצְפַנְתֶּם וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם זֶה אוֹצַר זְהַבְכֶם,
וְהָיָה לְכַלְכֵּל בּוֹ לְבַבְכֶם.
וְאִם כְּבֵדִים בְּחוֹבוֹת יְצָאתֶם, וַעֲנִיִּים –
וְשַׁבְתֶּם עֲשִׁירִים וּנְקִיִּים.
הוֹ, נְמַקֵּי הַחֹשֶׁךְ וּרְקֵבֵי הָאָמֶשׁ,
הִתְפַּלְּלוּ לַשֶּׁמֶשׁ, לַשָּׁמֶשׁ!
Awake with the sunrise! Clamber on the hills
To find the gold orient,
And being first to greet the sunlight, each
Will quaff to his soul’s content.
The dear morn of God like a sapful freshet goes
Around you, and o’erflows;
For all the aged and withered in your heart
Its sunlight will revive,
And all idolatrous and vile therein
The morning star will shrive.
Guard ye the golden treasure hid away
As succour for your heart.
Ye who approached, burdened with sin and care,
Guiltless and rich will part.
O! ye decrepit, rolled of the night,
Pray for the sun – the light.

וּרְטֻבֵּי טַל־אוֹרוֹת, לַאֲחֵיכֶם תָּשׁוּבוּ,
וְרָטְבוּ מִכֶּם וְיָנוּבוּ;
וְאִישׁ אֶל־בֵּית אָבִיו וְאִישׁ אֶל־בֵּית אֶחָיו
תָּבִיאוּ נָא בְּשׂוֹרַת הַמֶּרְחָב.
וִיצָאתֶם וּזְרַעְתֶּם מִסָּבִיב אֶת־אוֹרְכֶם –
וְנָגַהּ עַל־רֹאשׁ כָּל־בְּנֵי דוֹרְכֶם;
וְיָרַד וּמָצָא בַּמַּרְתֵּף הָאָפֵל
אֲחִיכֶם הַדָּךְ וְהַשָּׁפֵל,
וְרָעַד עַל־לִבּוֹ הָאוֹר וְהִתְרַפֵּק,
וְחֶרֶשׁ עַל־לִבּוֹ יִתְדַּפֵּק:
“קוּם, אָחִי, הִתְפַּלֵּל – יֵשׁ מָקוֹם לִתְפִלָּה,
יֵשׁ מָקוֹם לְתִקְוָה – הוֹחִילָה!”
וְקָם וְהִתְנַעֵר אֲחִיכֶם בֶּן־אָמֶשׁ –
וְצָמֵא לַשֶּׁמֶשׁ, לַשָּׁמֶשׁ!
Moist with dew of blossoms ye’ll return
And deck with mantle green
Each one his friend, and each in his father’s house
Will tell of the wide demesne.
Then in the fields ye will strew the stars to play
On the children’s heads to-day.
Descend to find in the dark
Your brother low and stark,
The light will tremble, leaning on his heart,
And lips pressed softly ope:
“Rise, brother, pray, for there is room for prayer,
And a place for hope – come hope!”
Then he will awake – your friend of yesternight
And thirst for the sun – the light.

וְאִם־תֹּהוּ בִקַּשְׁתֶּם אוֹר־שֶׁמֶשׁ לָעָיִן –
צְאוּ וּבְרָאוּהוּ מֵאָיִן!
חִצְבוּהוּ מִסֶּלַע, מִצּוּרִים נַקְּרוּהוּ,
מִפִּנּוֹת לְבַבְכֶם מִשְׁכוּהוּ!
וְחַי אֵל הָאוֹר, כִּי־כַאֲשֶׁר יֵחָשֵׂף
כֵּן יִפְרֹץ וְלָעַד לֹא־יֵאָסֵף;
וְגַם־נִדָּחֵיכֶם יָקוּמוּ וָבָאוּ
וַאֲלֵיכֶם אֶת־נַפְשָׁם יִשָּׂאוּ,
וּבְחֵיקְכֶם יַנִּיחוּ אֵת כָּל־גַּעְגּוּעֵיהֶם
הַקְּדוֹשִׁים – וּמְסָרוּם לִבְנֵיהֶם,
וְדוֹרוֹת לַדּוֹרוֹת יַנְחִילוּ וִיצַוּוּ:
חֲיוּ, עִבְדוּ הַרְבֵּה וְקַוּוּ!
הוֹ, גְּמוּלֵי מֵחֹשֶׁךְ, עַתִּיקֵי מֵאָמֶשׁ –
תְּלוּ שֶׁמֶשׁ עַל־רֹאשְׁכֶם, תְּלוּ שָׁמֶשׁ!
If ye, in search for sunlight, found but void,
Go, fashion it from nought,
Hew it from crags and quarry from the rocks,
In cells of the heart be it sought.
And when the God of light draws back the veil
‘Twill spread and never fail;
Your waifs will come anew
To lift their soul to you
And in your bosom they will lodge desires
Sacred – to their sons impart
This heritage from age to age command:
“Live, stint no toil, take heart!
“Weaned from the darkness, drawn from the breasts of night,
Clasp to your head the light!”

The poem, “Im Shamesh” (At Sunrise) was written by Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik in Kishinev on 24 Sivan 5664 (19 June 1903). This unattributed English translation was published on pages 98-99 of Chaim Nachman Bialik: Poems from the Hebrew, an anthology of Bialik’s work edited by L.V. Snowman (with an introduction by Vladimir Jabotinsky) in 1924. Transcription of the Hebrew by Project Ben-Yehuda. I have made some very slight changes to Bialik’s lines in order to accomodate the English translation. –Aharon Varady

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