For a few years, not too long ago, I had an acquaintance with a semi-feral female cat. It wasn’t a very close relationship, there were no great commitments or expectations, but we enjoyed the mutual interest and respect (greater on my side). She took great enjoyment of the food and the place to lie around, and when the time came, also a place to give birth to and raise her kittens Over the several years we were acquainted, she became a mother at least four times, giving birth to several dozens of kittens in all possible colour configurations of black, white and red. The little ones were born, gradually became independent, and within three months of their birth at the latest they disappeared, one by one, probably eaten by foxes and hawks, and in part perhaps also exterminated by their own father, a fully-feral wild, lame cat who roamed the area and had half of one of his ear missing. They disappeared without any trace. The mother accepted this turn of events with dignity. For as long as the kittens were alive, she cared for them and protected them, patiently, though not without some weariness, it seemed. As soon as the last one disappeared, she went back to her previous habits. Perhaps getting a little bitter as time passed by. One time, when there was only one kitten left from the litter, suddenly the female cat herself disappeared. The last of her offspring quickly adjusted, found his own paths, food sources and places to shelter in. When he survived his first winter, it seemed likely that he would stay among the living for a long time to come. But next autumn, he disappeared as well.
It’s ready. About 12 minutes. To make it more, you’d have to add not minutes, but zeros, so that’s it, this is the end.
Here is the text (Fragments from Ecclesiastes).
And here, once again the sound of original Hebrew.
The piece's title: Hevel, the central figure of the book (it is not quoted anywhere in the piece itself). There are some very interesting discussions going on around this figure. Two examples, from the introductions to relatively new individual translations of the Book: Czesław Miłosz describes his attempts to depart from the tradition rooted in our land, proposed by Jakub Wujek, and stemming partly from the Latin vanitas, the word “vanity” (Polish marność). He tries the "wayward smoke” (dym marny) (in parallel to Mickiewicz’s “wayward creature” (puch marny)), the “fallacy of breath” (błędliwość tchnienia), and finally resignes and goes back to “vanity”. Robert Alter makes a different choice, following the vivid specificity of the Hebrew metaphor, deciding on the “mere breath”. This appeals to me much more. And the “void” that Gianfranco Ravasi, for example, speaks of, is even more appealing.
Void of voids.
(transl. Magdalena Małek-Andrzejowska)