Aleph-Taf. I wish I could flutter till edge of the sky I'd rend ope the heavens so that they would cry I'd curse out the day on which double I died I wish that the water would flow o'er my eye
Beis-Shin. I'd cry in the desert, I'd cry there at night I'd hear you all weeping as you take your flight A weeping for weeping, an eye for an eye I'm wishing for Sinai, for days filled with light.
Gimmel-Reish. My limbs have all fallen like olives from trees The cry of my household soft wafts through the breeze My master calls after, my state breeds unease I wish I could trample like thorns enemies.
Daled-Kuf. I'd battle to find Him, I'd grow faint my heart I wish that my words knew forgiveness the art I seek for my Shepherd, but He's traveled far I mourn for the distance that keeps us apart.
Hey-Tzadik. I'm spinning in circles, I'm spinning around In tears I beseech Him, my face on the ground The stars have iced over; the moon bears a frown I shriek for remembrance, my words written down.
Vav-Pey. The righteous deceivers who covered the fruit They shame my deception, my greed for the loot The stars shining down, e'en they hear my suit They cry at my vestments, ripped open so brute.
Zayin-Ayin. And out we were exiled, when Temple was bled How bitterly I can recall we were wed A waterfall plummets with tears that we shed If like doves we had wings, by sky we'd have fled.
Ches-Samach. My brothers the Ten Tribes were taken to Tyre Like fields without water God withered in ire Jerusalem city was grasped like wheat spires My heart's with my country, e'en when all is dire.
Tes-Nun. I'd set my camp up in the shadow of death I'd linger with people who breathe their last breath I'd tend to the people who yearn for world next For which of the living escaped that duress?
Yud-Mem. My Lord, I am pleading, redemption portend For yearly my nation declares it's the end But I must announce what I cannot defend That God is our witness; our fate heaven sent.
Chuf. My head I will prostate to God, our might My knee take to bending because You are right From pain I will crown You, my songs choked with blight For You are my brother, support while I fight.
Lamed The Temple cries out now, forget not its groans And Judah and Israel restore from their roams The thousands of angels, the legions of Rome Was vidi and vici, now bring us back home.
ELAZAR. MINDY. But to this You answer, "From my ways you ceased Mindyou were who left me, and so I sent Greece," I groan and I howl; I search for Elyse Are all my crowns tumbled as I fall from grief?
August 11th, 2019 9th of Av, Jewish day of mourning This is a translation of one of the kinnot (mourning poems) of Elaza HaKalir, whose talent I can only hope to imitate. Original Hebrew is here.