DER YIDDISH-VINKL May 28, 2004

A WEEKLY BRIEFING ON THE MOTHER TONGUE

Published May 28, 2004, issue of May 28, 2004.
  • Print
  • Share Share

On the occasion of his 50th yahrzeit, the poet Y.Y. Sigal is featured in the pages of the Forward devoted to “Pearls of Yiddish Poetry.” A resident of Montreal, Sigal won fame in both Canada and the United States. Leonard Bernstein’s “Arias and Barcaroles” includes one of Sigal’s poems, titled “Oyf Mayn Khasene. It is sung in Yiddish in a collection otherwise in English. What follows is the poem as transliterated by Goldie Gold. The English version is by Gus Tyler.

Oyf Mayn KhaseneOyf mayn khasene hot geshpiltA royter freylikher klezmerOyf dem klenstn, shtilstn fideleGeshpilt hot er a troyeriksAn alt-fartsaytikt umetik lideleAlte klezmer hobn shtum gegaft:Vu hot er der royter yung gekhapt?Az beskhakl nekhtikt er un togt in derferShpilt oyf goyishe sikere vetshernitses,Un beskhakl kon er koym a shaytl ivre draptshen,Shlofn shloft er oyf a hartn taptshan.Esn est er vu es makht zikh dortn:A shikse shenkt im retekhlekh fun gortn. A boke iz er un a kharef in dem seyfer kortnMit ale pitshevkes, perushim un dikdukim,Nor a vunder un a kholem iz geven oyf im tsu kukn:Di aksl un der kop, un noz un oyerHobn kishefdik bay im gelakht mit freyd un troyerUn dos gantse dare knokhevate ponemHot gekvoln vi a lebediker brunem.Oyf mayn khasene hot ot der yung geshpilt Az s’hot fun ort gehoybn—fis hobn gevolt A ris-ton zikh, un zaynen shteyn geblibn,Oyern hobn zikh farshpitst vi shpizn,Un dos fidele hot gekusht, gerisn,Gebisn shtiker bis tsu veytik un geknipnBiz tsum blut di ongetsoygene odern-strunes ,Azh di alte hobn zikh gebetn: hob rakhmones.At My WeddingAt my wedding there did playA klezmer with red hair, I’d sayUsed his fiddle so one and allBeneath his sad glad spell would fall.He played an ancient saddening tuneOld klezmer said: “Please tell us soonWhere did this red-haired boyThis music find that brings us joy?”In any village that comes and callsHe plays at goyish drunken brawlsOf Hebrew he knows not a wordHe sleeps on surfaces absurd.He eats where’er he finds a biteA shikse feeds him yard delightBy any measure you applyHe is a dream unto the eye.His shoulders, head, his nose and ear,They laugh with suffering and good cheerOh yes, this bony, beaming faceWith love it glitters for our race.’Twas at my wedding he did playIt roused us all to swing and swayThe fiddle kissed and also bitInto your heart its arrows hit.It pained the oldsters, who would sayOh, please, take pity … go away.






Find us on Facebook!
  • “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. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj 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.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • 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.