This is an continuation of my alliterated Lamentations translation, the rest of which can be found here:
The aim of this translation is to produce something like “aesthetic faithfulness” to the original, or at least to get a bit closer. I’m not sure I’ve encountered other English translations that have set out to do this.
Metaphors fail for you, daughter Jerusalem
What does your suffering mean? What can I say?
What could bring comfort do you, virgin Daughter?
Who can heal wounds deeper than the sea?
Nugatory and sham visions the prophets imagined
Not exposing your vice, restoring your fortunes
For you they saw, false fortunes, comforting chimeras
Onlookers mock you with jeering gestures, passing by
Leering heads hiss vicious cuts at Jerusalem, Daughter
Did we call this place Beauty realized? Joy of our land?
Pompous enemies spread yawning jowls jeering
Hissing, whistling, gnashing, baring yellowed ivory
Their cry, “we have swallowed her!”
“For this day we hoped, it came, we taste!”
Resolutely YHWH has done what he purposed
His words, fulfilled, have knifed, threats from long ago
He has no pity on us; the enemy has joy over us
He has exalted the might of those who kill us
Squall and shout from your hearts to YHWH
You broken defenders of daughter Zion
Let your tears run the channels of the river
Day and night, do not stop their flow
Neither allow your eyes relief
Take your place on broken ramparts to sing your grief
During early hours, when watchmen would worry
Pour out your heart like water before the Lord
Lift up your hands to him…over children starving, dying
On every street
Under the gaze of YHWH, these children die, Look! See!
Who have you ever treated this way?
Should women eat their own fruit? The children they love?
Should someone be slain in God’s sanctuary? Priest? Prophet?
Wasted in the dust of the earth
Are the corpses of our men, boys and aged
Virgins and suitors equally emptied by the sword
You slaughtered them in the day of your anger
You butchered them without pity
You summoned as if to a celebration my terrors on every side
Not on this day, the day of YHWH’s anger
No one escaped, no one survived
Children I held in my arms, and raised in hope
My enemy has destroyed