son of man

The inchoate discussion this morning on the “son of man” (UCSC class on gospel of Mark) leads me to post a well-known poem by Dan Pagis who uses this expression in full awareness of the burden it bears, from Ezekiel and Daniel to modern Hebrew usage, via the gospels. It is from Points of Departure. There is an English translation by Stephen Mitchell (Ibid., p. 23). I give a slightly different one and add a Breton version. My changes: railcar instead of Railway-Car, transport instead of carload, i eve instead of i am eve, older son instead of other son, and i am instead of i (last word). The poem needs to be read at least a couple times to get the grammar right and be rolling. It gives pause to the century-old Christian discussion of the expression.

כָּתוּב בְּעִפָּרוֹן בַּקָּרון הֶחָתוּם

כָּאן בַּמִּשְׁלוֹחַ הַזֶּה
אֲנִי חַוָּה
עִם הֶבֶל בְּנִי
אִם תִּרְאוּ אֶת בְּנִי הַגָּדוֹל
קַיִן בֶּן אָדָם
תַּגִּידוּ לוֹ שֶׁאֲנִי

Written in pencil in the sealed railcar

here in this transport
i eve
with abel my son
if you see my older son
cain son of man
tell him that i am

Hag e brezhoneg:

Skrivet gant kreïon er vagon stouvet

amañ er transport-se
me eva
gant abel va mab
ma welit va mab henañ
cain mab den
lavarit dezhañ emaon