Edna Aphek

Translator’s Note on Edna Aphek’s Work:

My guidelines when translating my own work are: 1) Making sure the original meaning is conveyed, 2) Translation should be as close as possible to the original work, and 3) The translated material should read as it were originally written in the target language. Keeping this in mind, I have both the luxury and the difficulty of mostly translating my own work. The luxury being that I take license in deviating sometimes from my original work but the same luxury can also be a hurdle. How far can I exploit this license? This becomes very clear in the last stanza where I substituted Beit Hakvarot (Hebrew) as “cemetery tombs.” Then for Azmutcha (Exem is bone in Hebrew and Azmut is being), I decided to translate it as “bone marrow.” I felt it might combine the two. However, the greatest liberty I took in the last line of “My Father” is in the last line where Minaleihem (Hebrew for ‘their shoes’) is translated as “feet”. When translating this painful poem, I could see that what I meant when writing it was that my father’s blood and bone marrow continue living in my children, and therefore their shoes, while the original idea, became clearer in English as “feet.”


AphekEdna Aphek, born in Israel, 1943, is a linguist, a lecturer, a researcher in Hebrew Language and Literature, Education and Israeli culture. She writes in Hebrew and in English. She translates much of her own work mainly from Hebrew to English. Edna is a poet and an artist. She has published one book of poems and many poems in magazines and journals. Some of her poems have been translated into English and appear in several anthologies and can be read online.


My Father

Snow is falling over my father
Wrapping him in a feathery blanket
My mother’s sorrowful hair
Caresses his dead-open eyes

Snow keeps falling over my father
Serving him water to drink
My mother’s rivulets of sorrow
Water his bones

Snow keeps falling over my father
Pearls of tomb
My children coming home from their play
Your bone marrow in their light feet.




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