The Jew's hands, translucent in the dusk,
polish the lenses time and again.
The dying afternoon is fear, is
cold, and all afternoons are the same.
The hands and the hyacinth-blue air
that whitens at the Ghetto edges
do not quite exist for this silent
man who conjures up a clear labyrinth—
undisturbed by fame, that reflection
of dreams in the dream of another
mirror, nor by maidens' timid love.
Free of metaphor and myth, he grinds
a stubborn crystal: the infinite
map of the One who is all His stars.
Translated by Richard Howard, César Rennert
The Jew's translucent hands
Shape the crystals in the twilight.
And the dying evening is all fear and chill.
(In the evenings, evenings are the same).
His hands and the hyacinth's space
Paling at the purview of the ghetto
Are almost inexistent for the quiet man
Dreaming a clear labyrinth.
Fame does not perturb him, that reflection
Of dreams in another kind of dream,
Nor the girls' fearful love.
Free of metaphor, free of myth
He shapes a rigid crystal: the infinite
Map of the One that is All Its stars.
Translated by Yirmiyahu Yovel