Lament of the Bones

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by Osnat Lev Ari

This poem is presented in the 1) English translation by Yakov Azriel and Melanie Landau, 2) Hebrew original, and 3) Hebrew transliteration.

Recorded by author (English version)

from The Wild Lament cycle

Why did you take us out of the earth,
why did you keep us in shrouds?
Why did you put us in pots, in coffins,
why did you embalm us?
Why did you burn us?
Why don’t you let us crumble into pieces
let us fossilize sink and melt
in a million future years 
why don’t you hear
our lament?
Once we had
a long time

who will hear the old bones of the dead
that were not allowed to suckle
from the layers of fossil of the earth?
Why do you stop the flow of 
unbroken life,
why do you think some are more,
why don’t you allow,
why don’t you nourish life
with bones,
why are you afraid
to let go, to release, 
to let flow?
Why do you hide,
why are you hungry worms?
why — damn it

listen to our lament
return the bones
 back to the earth


A transliteration of the original version of the poem in Hebrew

Recorded by Osnat Lev Ari (Hebrew version)

Kinat  atzamot

Lama hotzatem otanu mehadama?
Lama shamartem otanu betachrichim?
Lama samtem becadim, bearonot?
Lama hanatetem, lama saraftem?
Lama atem lo notnim lanu
Lehitparek lahatihiot.
Tnu lanu lehitaben lishkoaa lehinames
El toch milyoney shanim atidiyit,
Lama atem lo shomeim
Otanu mekonenot.
Haya lanu paam zeman aroch

Oy oy oy
Mi ishma et ha atzamot hazkenot
Shel hametim shelo natnu lahem
Lahazor linok
Mishchavot hameubanim shel haadamot
Lama atem otzrim
Et zerem hahayim halo shvurim,
Lama atem hoshvim ni yoter,
Lama atem lo metirim,
Lama atem lo mezinim hayim eem atzamot

Lama atem pohadim
Levater, leshachrer, leharpt.
Lama atem mithabeem
Lama atem zehalin reevim
Lama lehol haruhot.

Oy oy oy
Takshivu lanu mekonenot
,ahaziru laadama et ha atzamot


קינת עצמות

לָמָּה הוֹצֵאתֶם אוֹתָנוּ מֵהָאֲדָמָה
לָמָּה שְׁמַרְתֶּם אוֹתָנוּ בְּתַכְרִיכִים,
לָמָּה שַׂמְתֶּם בְּכַדִּים, בַּאֲרוֹנוֹת.
לָמָּה חֲנַטְתֶּם. לָמָּה שְׂרַפְתֶּם.
לָמָּה אַתֶּם לֹא נוֹתְנִים לָנוּ
לְהִתְפָּרֵק לַחֲתִיכוֹת.
תְּנוּ לָנוּ לְהִתְאַבֵּן לִשְׁקֹעַ לְהִנָּמֵס,
אֶל תּוֹךְ מִילְיוֹנֵי שָׁנִים עֲתִידִיּוֹת,
לָמָּה אַתֶּם לֹא שׁוֹמְעִים
אוֹתָנוּ מְקוֹנְנוֹת.
הָיָה לָנוּ פַּעַם זְמַן אָרֹךְ
אוֹי אוֹי אוֹי
מִי יִשְׁמַע אֶת הָעֲצָמוֹת הַזְּקֵנוֹת
שֶׁל הַמֵּתִים שֶׁלֹּא נָתְנוּ לָהֶם
לַחֲזֹר לִינֹק
מִשִּׁכְבוֹת הַמְּאֻבָּנִים שֶׁל הָאֲדָמוֹת
לָמָּה אַתֶּם עוֹצְרִים
אֶת זֶרֶם הַחַיִּים הַלֹּא שְׁבוּרִים,
לָמָּה אַתֶּם חוֹשְׁבִים מִי יוֹתֵר
לָמָּה אַתֶּם לֹא מַתִּירִים,
לָמָּה אַתֶּם לֹא מְזִינִים חַיִּים עִם עֲצָמוֹת
לָמָּה אַתֶּם פּוֹחֲדִים
לְוַתֵּר, לְשַׁחְרֵר, לְהַרְפּוֹת.
לָמָּה אַתֶּם מִתְחַבְּאִים
לָמָּה אַתֶּם זְחָלִים רְעֵבִים
לָמָּה לְכָל הָרוּחוֹת.
אוֹי אוֹי אוֹי
תַּקְשִׁיבוּ לָנוּ מְקוֹנְנוֹת
תַּחֲזִירוּ לָאֲדָמָה אֶת הָעֲצָמוֹת

Recorded by Karina Lutz

Osnat Lev Ari lives in the north of Israel, above the sea of Galilee, in an ecological and arts community.  She is 45, married and a mother of two daughters. She is a social worker, a psychotherapist and a facilitator of family constellations work and African grieving ceremonies. She mainly works one-on-one with PTSD and anxiety, and witnesses daily the heartbroken time that we live in today, on so many levels of existence. She also volunteers with activists and offers them the African grieving ceremony as a way to renew their life force and find courage and hope within a safe community.

One thought on “Lament of the Bones

  1. Wondering which is better for the earth, cremation or burial, I come up against the waste of a tree that is a coffin. And its exorbitant cost, because we can’t be seen to stint on a loved one. But there is the waste of energy to burn a body, and does this allow the same benefit of nutrients to the earth as an unburned body? But the container seems a waste, either way, unless you spread the ashes on the land… the grief measures the same, but I wish I knew what is best for the earth, not for the funeral parlour pocket.

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