July 2, 2022

Tumble­tumble­down

By Rachel Perets

Translated by Adriana X. Jacobs & Yosefa Raz

Tumble down into the magma, tumble tumble down,
uprooted walls will be your cortège, tumble tumble down
to their breaking sound, hurtling, charging, tumble tumble down,
with your stonecutter jaw, Salamandra, tumble tumble down,
with lizard eyes frozen on your temples, in the straight cut shift,
make ready, descender, make ready, runaway, make ready, it’s revelation day,
a meeting’s been set, guard your tongue, time to spoil the line,
a core, cruel as a fist, wrenched from the magma, speeding at you, shot
like a stray bullet, like wisdom gone rancid, with a deafening whistle of anguish,
plasterers without walls helplessly announce a weary fainthearted warning,
and the envoy flys, raging and longing, to you, Daughter-of-Fire, Daughter-of-Foment,
he’s close (do you know him?) your old foe, fair lush and foul,
he will grasp, he will pierce, he will spare, he will slay, tumble tumble down.

מַטָּמַטָּפְּלִי

,מַטָּה מַטָּה פְּלִי לַמַּגְמָה, מַטָּה מַטָּה פְּלִי
כְּתָלִים עֲקוּרִים יְלַוּוּךְ כְּפָמַלְיָה, מַטָּה מַטָּה פְּלִי
,לְקוֹלָם הַנִּשְׁבָּר, הַדּוֹהֵר וְתוֹבֵעַ, מַטָּה מַטָּה פְּלִי
,בַּלֶסֶת סַתָּת אֲשֶׁר לָךְ, סָלָמַנְדְּרָה, מַטָּה מַטָּה פְּלִי
,בְּעֵינֵי הַלְּטָאָה הַקְּפוּאוֹת בִּצְדָעַיִךְ, בַּכֻּתֹּנֶת יִשְׁרַת הַגִּזְרָה
,הִכּוֹנִי, צוֹנַחַת, הִכּוֹנִי, בּוֹרַחַת, הִכּוֹנִי, זֶה יוֹם בְּשׂוֹרָה
,פְּגִישָׁה לָךְ נָכוֹנָה, נִצְרִי הַלָּשׁוֹן, זוֹ הָעֵת לְקַלְקֵל הַשּׁוּרָה
לוּז אַכְזָר כְּאֶגְרוֹף נֶעֱקַר מִן הַמַּגְמָה, אֵלַיִךְ פָּנָיו, הוּא נוֹרָה
כְּקָלִיעַ תּוֹעֶה, כְּבִינָה שֶׁרָקְבָה, בִּשְׁרִיקַת יִסּוּרִים הַמְּהַסָּה
,מְבַשְּׂרִים הַטָּחִים אֵין אוֹנִים בְּאֵין קִיר אַזְהָרַת מֹרֶךְ לֵב נִמְאָסָה
,וְהוּא טָס, הַשָּׁלוּחַ, זוֹעֵם וְכָמֵהַּ, אֵלַיִךְ, בַּת אֵשׁ, בַּת תְּסִיסָה
הוּא קָרוֹב, הֲתַכִּירִי, אוֹיְבֵךְ הַיָּשָׁן, הַמָּתוֹק, הֶעָנֹג, הַמַּחְלִיא
.הוּא יִלְפֹּת, הוּא יִרְצַע, הוּא יִגְאַל, הוּא יָמִית. מַטָּה מַטָּה פְּלִי


Born in 1966, Rachel Perets (רחל פרץ) is a poet, prose writer, essayist, and painter. She is also a literary editor and copyeditor. Winner of the Minister of Culture Award for Emerging Poets (2014) and the Ditzani-Helicon Award (2015), her books include Lot Deed (2015), an intimate reading of the biblical story of Lot; Red Riding Hood | Just Give Him an Enemy (2018); and Prologue to a Murder (2018), a poetic murder epic.

Adriana X. Jacobs is a poet and scholar based in Oxford, England and Brooklyn, NY. Her translations of Hebrew poetry have appeared recently in Poetry International, Ilanot Review, Seedings, and Two Lines. She is a recipient of the 2015 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant for her translation of Vaan Nguyen’s The Truffle Eye (2021, Zephyr Press).

Yosefa Raz is a poet, translator, and scholar. Her work has recently appeared in Entropy, Jacket2, Guernica, Protocols, the Boston Review, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Her scholarship is focused on the often fraught transformation of prophecy into poetry. She is a lecturer in the Department of English Language & Literature at the University of Haifa.