In the last issue of Der Vinkl, we featured Itzik Manger on the occasion of his 35th yahrzeit. Manger was known as “the people’s poet,” exploring the moods and modes of the masses. One of Manger’s most famous poems was written during World War II. He dedicated it to martyr Shmuel Zygelboym, who committed suicide in order to shake the conscience of the world. In this poem, Manger uses “dos klor-vayse tsigele” and the “goldene pave” (golden peacock) as symbols for the Jewish people.
The transliteration that follows is by Goldie A. Gold. The English version is by Gus Tyler.
Dos Klor-Vayse Tsigele
Dos klor-vayse tsigele hot fiberdike oygn
Un iz oysgedeyvert, oysgedart
Zint di goldene pave iz avekgefloygn,
Ligt es farshpart in geto un vart.
Az di goldene shvester zol brengen a dokter
Un der dokter zol brengen a meditsin
“Helft ir gotenyu” — bet zikh dos kranke —
As zi zol khotsh besholem ariberflien.
Iz di goldene pave gefloygn, gefloygn,
Durkh toyznt gefarn biz keyn Nyu York
Dos kranke klor vayse tsigele in geto
Iz ir eyn un eyntsike zorg.
Ot iz zi gefloygn un ot zi gekumen
Un bet zikh rakhmim baym har fun der velt
Nor efsher derfar vayl zi taynet oyf yidish
Farshteyen nisht di mushlomim fun der velt.
The Goat in Snow White
The little white goat has feverish eyes
Its body is haggard and thin
The peacock has gone from the once happy skies
In ghettos the goat’s now penned in.
And there she does wait for a doctor to come
And the doctor should come with a cure
God help us our sorrow and pain overcome
A better today and tomorrow ensure.
The golden hued peacock did fly and did fly
Through thousands of dangers in New York arrived
But, no matter no matter how much he did try
He feared how the ones in the ghetto survived.
He begged for some mercy from Lord of the earth
And thus he his yearnings did constantly stoke
Of happy responses there was a dire dearth
Perhaps ’cause his yearnings in Yiddish he spoke.