DER YIDDISH-VINKL February 3, 2006

A WEEKLY BRIEFING ON THE MOTHER TONGUE

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!
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • Meet Alvin Wong. He's the happiest man in America — and an observant Jew. The key to happiness? "Humility."
  • "My first bra was a training bra, a sports bra that gave the illusion of a flat chest."
  • "If the people of Rwanda can heal their broken hearts and accept the Other as human, so can we."
  • Aribert Heim, the "Butcher of Mauthausen," died a free man. How did he escape justice?
  • This guy skipped out on seder at his mom's and won a $1 million in a poker tournament. Worth it?
  • Sigal Samuel's family amulet isn't just rumored to have magical powers. It's also a symbol of how Jewish and Indian rituals became intertwined over the centuries. http://jd.fo/a3BvD Only three days left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • 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.