DER YIDDISH-VINKL January 20, 2006


Published January 20, 2006, issue of January 20, 2006.
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In its columns devoted to Pearls of Yiddish Poetry, the Forverts recently featured Mina Bordo-Rivkin as a poet of faith and hope. What follows is a transliteration of her poem by our colleague, Goldie Gold, and then a translation into English by Gus Tyler.

Mayn Tate

Mayn tate trogt tsar in zayne oygn

Dos gedenk ikh zayt ikh bin a kind geven

Ikh hob in mayn tatn’s oygn

Dem elnt fun dem Yidn gezen.

Shabes nokh mitog ven mayn tatns gute hant

Hot finger nokh finger geton a brokh —

Itst nokh her ikh ot dem klang

Dem gantsn yidish okh.

Iz mayn tate mir nokh nenter gevorn

Ikh bin dokh fun im gor nit avek

Zayn tsar iz oykh mayner gevorn

Mit freyd gey ikh iber zayn veg.

Ikh vel oyf mayn tatn’s veg nit faln

Mayn veg iz fun zayne oygn gehit.

Zayn tsar iz libshaft in mayne glider

Zayne kneytshn — reyfn mayn gemit.

* * *

My Father

My father carries sorrow in his eyes

I knew about this since I was a kid

’Twas in my father’s eyes

I saw the desolation of a Yid.

On Saturday afternoon my father on his hand

Did on his fingers count his many prayers

I still can hear it like some brazen band

Shouting how the poor Jew fares.

With time I’ve grown much closer to my dad

Perhaps I never did from him depart

My sorrows were the ones my father had

And I have come to love them in my heart.

I will not fail my father’s way of life

His sorrows turn to joy and fun in me

I’ve spent my time in endless well-spent strife

So someday I my very dad will be.

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