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  • Writer's pictureCorbin Allardice

Poem 10 - Mute Resonance

Poem 10 - Mute Resonance (Untitled)*


In its fear of death my soul forgets

That wordless resonance!

Turning to dust without a word

The vital sounds recede--

Poisonous and wet,

Slippery and cold,

Embracing me, caressing me,

Like the serpent unto Eve.

Turning to dust without a word

The vital sounds recede.


S’fargest mayn neshome in toyt-shrek

Dos shtume geroysh!

S’shitn zikh, s’shitn zikh

Shtum royshike klangen,

Giftike-nase,

Glitshike-kalte,

Haldzn mikh, lashtshen mikh,

Viklen arum mikh vi shlangen.

S’shitn zikh, s’shitn zikh

Shtum royshike klangen.


*- This translation is rather loose, and interpretive; in the Yiddish of Varshe’s day it would be called “fray ba'arbet.” The reference to Eve in this poem is entirely my own, for purposes of rhyme primarily, as well as its general relevance to the Varshe's obsessions with sin and theodicy. Moreover, the phrase “wordless resonance” is most literally rendered as “mute/wordless humming,” while the verse “Turning to dust without a word/The vital sounds recede” translates literally to “they’re pouring out, they’re pouring out/without a word, the humming sounds.” However, the verb for “to pour” (shitn zikh) also means “to crumble.”


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