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  • Writer's pictureCorbin Allardice

To Your Burning Root (Untitled) by Moyshe Varshe -- Poem 1 & Fragment 1

Updated: Sep 28, 2020

Fragment 1


Upon my soul’s own grave I built a tent of reed*

Now I live there--out of need.


Afn keyver fun mayn neshome hob ikh a getselt geboyt

Dort voyn ikh itst--fun noyt.


Poem 1: To Your Burning Root


On the roads I wandered,

Searching for the road to you,

A cloud then had me bonded

In days woven of gray dew.

And my heart yearned to reach

To your burning root,

To the night it chained and bound me,

The moon’s paling light.


Cloud gray days, moon pale nights,

At your feet there lies a life, now a thing of blight.


Ikh bin af vegn umgegangen

un gezukht tsu dir dem veg,

Hot a nebl mikh gefangen

In di groy bashpinte teg.

Un mayn harts hot zikh gerisn

Tsu dayn flamendikn kval,

Tsu der nakht hot tsugeshmidt mikh

Der levone’s bleykher shtral.


Nebl groye teg, levone bleykhe nekht,

Aykh tsufusns ligt a lebn itst farshvendt.



Literal Translation


On roads I wandered

And searched for the road to you,

A fog then captured me

In the gray woven days.

And my heart yearned to go

To your flaming source,

I was bound to the night

By the moon’s pale light.


Fog gray days, moon pale nights,

At your feet lies a life now profaned.


By Moyshe Varshe

Translated by Corbin Allardice


*- "of reed" was added to this poem in order to reproduce Varshe's rhyme. While it is questionable whether rhyming most suits these poems (in translation), and while Varshe's rhyme is somewhat heavy, it strikes me as nonetheless significant.


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