DER YIDDISH-VINKL November 25, 2005

Published November 25, 2005, issue of November 25, 2005.
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a weekly briefing on the mother tongue

Stanley Siegelman returns to the Forward with his inimitable genius in choice of subject matter, and his sparkling sense of humor. He calls his bundle of fun a “booby” mayse. As an introduction to this poem, he notes: “Mothers are campaigning nationwide for the right to breast-feed their babies in public. The movement has been dubbed ‘lactivism.’ To date, some six states have passed laws giving them that right. Recently some 200 women protesters staged a public “nurse-in” outside NBC’s New York City headquarters after TV commentator Barbara Walters made remarks on her show that disparaged public breast-feeding.

A Booby Mayse

Yetst mir hobn nokh an “ism”

Herst? Es ruft zikh Lactivism.

Vayber viln beybis “nursin”

In di gasn — yo! In droysn

Mit geshrey un mit “hurrah”

Nemen zey avek dem bra

Far der gantser velt in d’oygn

Bavayzn zey vi tsu zoygn

Dos bay zey iz demokratish

(Nor iz es oykh gants balebatish?)

In gas, zey geyen on a stanik —

Aza geshrey! Gevalt! A “panic”

Kukt nor on di balabuste

Vi zi vayst ir nakete brust, eh!

Hobn mir shoyn itst fargesn

Vi m’git a beybi esn?

Nit shemevdik iz zeyr “protest”

“Di beste milkh kumt funem “breast”

Mener take, hobn kheyshek

Kukndik oyf vayber fleyshik

Milkhiks ober, iz di zakh

Vos meynt tsu ale layt a sakh.

Here is the English version.

Is this the new fanaticism?

Something known as “lactivism?”

Women who without ado

Are nursing kids in public view?

They doff their bras and then assay

To feed their children nature’s way.

Does giving succor in this mode

Defy a standard moral code?

Their “lactivism” wives contend

Must vapid modesty transcend

They cherish their inherent right

To nourish babes whene’er they might

And why should folks express disgust

At such exposure of the bust?

Perhaps they’re just mean spirited

Disliking tots and how they’re fed

Proactively the moms protest

And promptly beat and bare the breast

(Men folk, it’s true, all think romance

Resides in that protuberance)

Around the moms let’s coalesce

And wish ’em luck and much suck-cess.

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