When I selected this particular poem, Asher Reich‘s “The History of My Heart”, I had only read the translation by Tsipi Keller but when doing a bit of background research found another translation by Vivian Eden. As always, I was struck by how different the meaning can be depending on the interpretation of the translator. I have included both translations here (but cannot find the original Hebrew, and I would not be able to read the original anyway, so I don’t know which translation best reflects the closest literal meaning versus which best reflects intent/figurative meaning).
A good example here of what I mean is that in the Keller translation, it’s a line is translated: “dark ages of humiliating defeats” while the Eden translation cites “dark ages of shameful defeats”. Personally I feel that there is a vast difference between the meaning and nuance of these two word choices: humiliating versus shameful. Shame seems so much stronger, imbued with a much deeper sense of self-blame and guilt, while humiliating does not make me feel the same sense of ongoing ‘defeat’, i.e. humiliation will embarrass you in the moment but shame will stick with you and even alter the course of your actions, possibly even your life? What do you think? I prefer Keller’s version (shown below first), but I like both.
The History of My Heart
A second opinion: