Hayyim Nahman Bialik

(9 January 1873 – 4 July 1934 / Radi, Volhynia)

On A Summer’s Day


When high noon on a summer’s day
makes the sky a fiery furnace
and the heart seeks a quiet corner for dreams,
then come to me, my weary friend.

A shady carob grows in my garden –
green, remote from the city’s crowds –
whose foliage whispers secrets of God.
Good my brother, let’s take refuge.

Pleasure and tenderness let us share
in the sweet hidden prime of noon,
and the mystery golden rays reveal
when sunlight pierces the rich shade.

When the black cold of a winter’s night
bruises you with its icy pinch
and frost sticks knives in your shivering flesh,
then come to me, blessed of God.

My dwelling is modest, lacking splendour,
but warm and bright and open to strangers.
A fire’s in the grate, on the table a candle –
my lost brother, stay and get warm.

When we hear a cry in the howling storm
we will think of the destitute starving outside.
We will weep for them – honest pitiful tears.
Good friend, my brother, let us embrace.

But when autumn approaches with rain and cloud
and the roof leaks and there’s moth in the heart
and the desolate world sinks, sullen, in mire,
then merciful brother, leave me alone.

I would be alone in the barren time
when the heart withers in slow decay.
Unseen. Unknown. No stranger understands.
Let me grieve alone in my silent pain.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 07, 2010

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