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文章标题:Jerusalem of Gold发表日期:2006-11-07
作  者:怀宇出处:原创浏览3056次,读者评论0条论坛回复0条
Jerusalem of Gold
文/怀宇
2006年11月07日,星期二
 
                                                    Israel Jewish Life, October 27, 2006
 
I bragged to my husband a long time ago that I would write a poem about Jerusalem. I didn’t really know yet what I would write then. I just had a feeling whenever I heard the word Jerusalem, like a mist laden with sentiments rolling towards me from a remote time and place, unstoppable. With so much history and so many intricate events behind it, the city’s name itself seemed to me already saturated with poetry. I believed that I could probably have a poem if I simply place the name among a few words:
 
 
Jerusalem, the city
which always lived
in my dream
in which I once walked
with my sheep, blue sky
and white cloud
The sound of the ram’s horn
rippled
over the vast land
clear, far, and beyond

– – – – –
 
I had an image of a shepherdess, who lived during one of the rare peaceful times of this ancient city. There were also bright sunshine, pastoral songs, and green grassland. Then, suddenly, the idyllic poem changed its tone, pushing images of war into my mind – the shepherdess’ father and brothers died in the war, the sheep fled, and the shepherdess was killed in the chaos, or, she was sold as a slave by her captors.

That was no good. If I had continued to write along that line, the poem would sooner or later turn into a Jewish version of a popular Chinese opera from the Yuan Dynasty (1271AD – 1368AD), The Injustice to Dou E, in which a wrongly executed young widow, Dou E, avenged the injustice done to her as a ghost.

Some time later, at a Passover dinner in my parents-in-law’s home, I happened to hear a beautiful and heart-rending Hebrew song, Jerusalem of Gold. It called up the image of my forgotten shepherdess once more.

The beauty of the song extended far and deep, and the longing in the melody rose up like an enclosing veil, slowly but persistently. Through the veil of music, I could almost see a caravan progressing on an endless sand path, with its silver bells ringing to the sluggish steps of the worn-out camels. The female singer’s voice was unadorned yet captivating.  In her singing there were the anguish of the one who had lost her homeland, the suffering of the one who had drifted for thousands of years, and the sorrow of the one who could not return home; there was also some hope – the shepherdess finally reflected upon her agony and became resolute to survive and go home.

I don’t know much Hebrew, so I didn’t really understand what the singer was singing, but I felt the song. Later on I found an English translation of the lyrics online. Of course there is no shepherdess in the actual lyrics, but I do think the melody and the singer’s voice conveyed to me much of the intended emotions.

Together with the lyrics, I also acquired a little history of the song. It was written and composed for Israel’s Independence Day in 1967, by Naomi Shemer. When the song was first written, it had only three verses. At that time, Jerusalem was divided into two parts, and the Jewish people were not allowed to visit their holiest place, the Temple Mount, on the east side of the city. One month later, Israel won the Six-Day War and united Jerusalem. Naomi Shemer then replaced the second verse with an updated version, which lightened up the lyrics’ original melancholy nature.

It is said that Jerusalem of Gold was once very popular among the Jewish communities around the world, and that it was like a second national anthem of Israel.
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
JERUSALEM OF GOLD – YERUSHALAYIM SHEL ZAHAV

by Naomi Shemer
 
The mountain air is clear as wine
And the scent of pines
Is carried on the breeze of twilight
With the sound of bells.
And in the slumber of tree and stone
Captured in her dream
The city that sits solitary
And in its midst is a wall.
Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze, and of light
Behold I am a violin for all your songs.
How the cisterns have dried
The market-place is empty
And no one frequents the Temple Mount
In the Old City.
And in the caves in the mountain
Winds are howling
And no one descends to the Dead Sea
By way of Jericho.
We have returned to the cisterns
To the market and to the market-place
A ram’s horn (shofar) calls out on the Temple Mount
In the Old City.
And in the caves in the mountain
Thousands of suns shine –
We will once again descend to the Dead Sea
By way of Jericho!
Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze, and of light
Behold I am a violin for all your songs.
But as I come to sing to you today,
And to adorn crowns to you (i.e. to tell your praise)
I am smaller than the youngest of your children (i.e. the least worthy of doing so)
And of the last poet (i.e. of all the poets born).
For your name scorches the lips
Like the kiss of a seraph
If I forget thee, Jerusalem,
Which is all gold...
Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze, and of light
Behold I am a violin for all your songs.
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