DER YIDDISH-VINKL December 24, 2004


Published December 24, 2004, issue of December 24, 2004.
  • Print
  • Share Share

On the occasion of his 95th yahrzeit, the page of the Forverts devoted to Pearls of Yiddish Poetry dedicated its space to Khaim Alexandrov (1869-1909). He was famous for two of his poems: “Comrades in Arms” and “May Song.”

What follows are transliterations of both poems (songs) by Goldie A. Gold and English versions by Gus Tyler.

May Lid

Vemens shtimen her ikh klingen?

Naye lider zol men zingen!

Al dos beyze iz farbay

Mit dem vinter kaltn, langn

Raykh in farbn raykh in klangen

Kumt tsu geyn der ershter May!

Vemens shtimen her ikh klingen?

Fraye lider zol men zingen

S’nemt a sof di shklaferay

Loyz di klangen, loyz di keytn…

Hel baputst mit frishe kveytn

Kumt tsu geyn der ershter May!

Vemens shtimen her ikh klingen?

Hoykh un munter zol men zingen!

Zol zikh trogn frank un fray

Undzer lid in ale ekn

Tsu a nayem lebn vekn

Kumt tsu geyn der ershter May!

May Song

What’s the voice that I hear ringing?

Newer songs we should be singing

The cold and wind have gone away.

The winter’s over, now it’s gone

Spring is here, and we’re reborn

Hurrah, hurrah, it’s first of May

What’s the voice that I hear ringing?

Songs of freedom we’re now singing

Slavery has lost its sway

Release your voice, release your chains

Let’s celebrate, we’re rid of pains

Because this is the first of May.

What’s the voice that I hear ringing?

High and happy comes the singing.

Let it brighten up the day

Let it reach to every corner

Let it drive off every scorner

Today, all cheers, it’s first of May!

* * *

Alexandrov’s most famous song is…

Khaveyrim in Kamf

O, brider, liber, mir hobn geshlosn

Oyf lebn un toyt a farband

Mir shteyen in shlakht vi genosn,

Di fone di royte in hant.

Un treft dikh a koyl, mayn getrayer

A koyl fun dem soyne, dem hunt,

Ikh trog dikh aroys bald fun fayer

Un heyl dikh mit kushn dayn vund

Un bistu gefaln a toyter

Di oygn di libe farmakht,

Ikh vikl dikh ayn in der fone der royter

Un fal in der blutiker shlakht.

Comrades in Arms

My comrade, we both have concluded

By life and by death a resolve

In which there’s firmly included

A pact that will never dissolve.

Should a bad bullet e’er hit you

An enemy’s bullet, that beast

I will then rush to your rescue

And turn your pain down to its least.

Should death then end your pains

The final word be said

We’ll wrap your last remains

Within our flag of red.

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.