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Lea Goldberg-Will There Ever Come Days

Leahgoldberg

The Hebrew poet and author Lea Goldberg was born 101 years ago today, May 29, 1911. Goldberg was born in Russia and eventually received a doctorate from the University of Bonn.

Goldberg was born on May 29, 1911 in the city of Königsberg, Prussia. She spent her childhood years in Kovno, Lithuania. During World War I, her family was exiled to Russia, returning afterwards to Lithuania. It was during this journey homeward that her father, Avraham Goldberg, an insurance expert, was arrested. As a result of the difficult events that he experienced, he suffered an emotional breakdown. He later left the family home and was hospitalized intermittently in various institutions, remaining in Europe until his death (the precise dates are unknown). In Lithuania, Goldberg studied at the Hebrew gimnazjum and later at the University of Kovno. In 1930 she continued her studies at the University of Berlin and later attended the University of Bonn, studying Semitic languages, history and pedagogy. Her dissertation examined the sources of the Samaritan translation of the Torah. (from here)

A list of her writings in Hebrew and those available in translation can be found here.

One of here most famous poems that was later made into a song is “אמנם עוד יבואו ימים” (“Will there ever come days”), or as it is often known, “את תלכי בשדה” (“You will walk in the field”). Below are two versions of the song, the first by Chava Alberstein, and the second by Mika Karny. There are essentially the same version, but while Alberstein is one of the iconic figures of Israeli music I am always trying to promote the work of Mika Karny. The English translation at the bottom is from here.

את תלכי בשדה
מילים: לאה גולדברג
לחן: חיים ברקני
קיים ביצוע לשיר זההאמנם האמנם

עוד יבואו ימים

בסליחה ובחסד

ותלכי בשדה

ותלכי בו כהלך התם

ומחשוף ומחשוף
כף רגלך ילטף

בעלי האספסת

או שלפי שיבולים

ידקרוך ותמתק דקירתם

או מטר ישיגך
בעדת טיפותיו הדופקת

על כתפייך חזך צווארך

וראשך רענן

ותלכי בשדה הרטוב

וירחב בך השקט

כאור בשולי הענן

ונשמת ונשמת

את ריחו של התלם

נשום ורגוע

וראית את השמש

בראי השלולית הזהוב

ופשוטים ופשוטים

הדברים וחיים

ומותר בם לנגוע

ומותר לאהוב
ומותר ומותר לאהוב

את תלכי בשדה לבדך

לא נצרבת בלהט

השרפות בדרכים שסמרו

מאימה ומדם

וביושר לבב שוב

תהיי ענווה ונכנעת

כאחד הדשאים כאחד האדם

את תלכי בשדה לבדך…

Is it true – will there ever come days of forgiveness and mercy?
And you’ll walk in the field, and it will be an innocent’s walk.
And your feet on the medick’s small leaves will be gently caressing,
And sweet will be stings, when you’re stung by the rye’s broken stalks!

And the drizzle will catch you in pounding raindrops’ folly
On your shoulders, your breast and your neck, while your mind will be clean,
You will walk the wet field, and the silence will fill you –
As does light in a dark cloud’s rim

And you’ll breathe in the furrow in breaths calm and even,
And the pond’s golden mirror will show you the Sun up above,
And once more all the things will be simple, and present, and living,
And once more you will love – yes, you will, yes, once more you will love!

You will walk. All alone. Never hurt by the blazing inferno
Of the fires on the roads fed by horrors too awful to stand,
And in your heart of hearts you’ll be able to humbly surrender,
In the way of the weeds, in the way of free men.

2 Responses to “Lea Goldberg-Will There Ever Come Days”

  1. 1
    Abul Bannat:

    Happy birthday Lea Goldberg. Thank you for the post.
    For the preferred spelling of her name in English see here: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/he/d/da/Goldberg3.JPG
    (n.b. – what she writes in parenthesis)

    To hear her reciting one of her more beautiful poems, see here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUGDhkwZlVI

    To see her stamp: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~szwetch/Stamps.of.Israel/31.html

    To see (and hear) collection of her songs: http://www.zemer.co.il/artist.asp?id=137

    Listen to the version of החליל arranged by Menachem Weisenberg sung by the “Vocal Octet” (and try to keep a dry eye).
    Or you can hear Esther Ofarim’s beautiful version here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nubqVrri16s&feature=related (let’s forgive her for messing up the words).
    Or a more elaborate version by Achinoam Nini: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5tG84HQPpA

    We could go on but let’s celebrate the birthday of this wonderful poet, writer and (even) artist. For more stuff, go here: http://matyata.go.cet.ac.il/go/Forums/Template.asp?Asp=403&FID=36457&nOwnerID=164406&nSubProjectID=0&bFillMsgFields=False&nFillterUserID=0&Index=1qv2&sSearchText=

  2. 2
    Menachem Mendel:

    Thanks for the comment. I couldn’t decide which way to spell her name, so I used the way that the most recent translation of her poetry wrote it, and now I know that it was wrong.

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