DER YIDDISH-VINKL February 3, 2006


Published February 03, 2006, issue of February 03, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The pages of the Forverts devoted to Pearls of Yiddish Poetry recently featured Yankl Yankelovitch (1905-1938). His early death was no accident; Yankelovitch was a victim of Stalin’s campaign against Jewish intellectuals. What follows is the text of a poem that Yankelovitch wrote when he visited his mother’s tomb. The transliteration is by Goldie Gold. The English version is by Gus Tyler.

Tsu Mayn Mamen

Shofer, shofer, loyf nit, halt ayn di mashin

Durkh ot yene hoyfn kereve ahin

Tsu dem o shtetl, in a shtub do krum

Shteyt, dakht zikh, mayn betl, oysgedreyt un shtum.

Un nit vayt fun danen, bay a ployt fun leym

Ligt dort hin mayn mame, shtil unter a shteyn.

Nit vayl ikh gleyb in toyte, tsi in yener velt

Mustu lebn ployt dot opshteln zikh shnel.

Nor vayl s’ligt a mentsh do, vos zayn gantser troym

Iz geven — ir kind zol; lebn khotsh geroym

Nokh a tog a zatn eynik zikh geyogt

Un azoy gelatet hot zi tog nokh tog.

Nu, hot zi getroymt nor un zikh nit devart

Vaksn itst nor beymer oyf ir keyver tsart

Iz fun danen ort, vil der zun dos kind irs

Zen ir keyver ort.

Shofer, shofer, loyft nit, kereve ahin

Lem ot yene hoyfn shtel op dayn mashin.

To My Mother

Chauffeur, chauffeur, take it easy

Through these courtyards bright and breezy

Until you come unto a shtetl

Where there is very little metal.

You’ll find a house most unpretentious

Though in my crib I was licentious

Not far from there you’ll find a gravestone

The only land my mom does now own.

I do not think the dead are living

Nor that they have the power of giving

Now, at this fence, you should be stopping

For here lies one whose head was popping.

With dreams about the child she nourished

And praying that someday he’d flourish

Her day was busy, full of labor

She bounced from neighbor unto neighbor.

Now on her grave a tree is growing.

The years they come and keep on going

Mom’s son is one of world renown

He brought great fame to mother’s town.

Chauffeur, chauffeur, take it easy

Through these courtyards bright and breezy.

Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

You may also be interested in our English-language newsletters:

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.