DER YIDDISH-VINKL November 12, 2004

Yiddish songs and poetry cover the gamut of human emotions, from moaning and groaning to dancing and prancing, and all that falls between a sad tomorrow and days without sorrow. What follows is a poem by Soviet Jewish poet Yousef Kotlier (1908-1962) as it appears in transliterated form in “Songs of Generations” compiled by Eleanor and Joseph Mlotek. The poem is a pleasant plea for happiness, induced by his song, as a prelude to a world of lasting peace. The English version is by Gus Tyler.

Shpil Zhe Mir a Lidele Yidish

Shpil zhe mir a lidele af Yidish

Dervekn zol es freyd un nisht keyn khidesh.

Az ale, groys un kleyn,

Zoln kenen dos farshteyn

Fun moyl tsu moyl dos lidlele zol geyn!


Shpil, shpil, klezmerl, shpil

Veyst dokh vos ikh meyn un vos ikh vil —

Shpil, shpil, shpil a lidele far mir

Shpil a lidele mit harts un mit gefil!

A lidele fun ziftsn un fun trern

Shpil azoy as ale zoln hern

Az ale zoln zen

Ikh leb un zingen ken

Shener nokh un beser vi geven.

Shpil zhe mir a lidele fun sholem!

Zol shoyn zayn a sholem, nit keyn kholem!

Az felker, groys un kleyn

Zoln kenen dos farshteyn

On krig un on milkhomes zikh begeyn.

Play Me a Little Song in Yiddish

Play a Yiddish song for me

Make me feel I’m on a spree

So everyone both small and tall

Will understand and know it all

And will its every word recall.


Quiet, while the klezmer play

Know what I say and what I mean

Play, oh play, and make my day

Play, oh play, with feelings keen.

A song without both sighs and tears

And play it loud, so each one hears

So everyone will know

That I know how to blow

My horn from long ago.

Oh, sing to me a song of peace

A peace that’s real, and never cease

So people, big and small

Will understand it all

And never let peace fall!

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DER YIDDISH-VINKL November 12, 2004

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