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DER YIDDISH-VINKL March 25, 2005

Dr. Joan Braman is a resident of Riverdale, New York, who has a doctorate in psychology and an interest in English literature and in the Yiddish language. She has translated and adapted many English literary classics into Yiddish. We are delighted by her decision to submit her work to our Yiddish Vinkl.

What follows is an example of her tempting talents — the classic poem “Ozymandias,” written by Percy Bysshe Shelley.


I met a traveler from an antique land

Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;

And on the pedestal these words appear:

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Yiddish Version

Dertseylt a vanderer fun an antik land:

A tseshpaltene statue gemakht fun shteyn,

In midber shteyt, halb gezunken in zamd;

Tsvey rizike glider un derbay aleyn

Lig der kop, tsekortshet iz di brem,

Di lipn shmeykhlen. Nor a beyze mine,

Bituldik der blik, dos ponim krum;

Azoy vi der sculptor hot in zin

Vos yener hot in hartsn, un mit zayn hant

In umbelebt shteyn, vos iz nokh geblibn,

Kuntslerish hot er dos oysgedrikt,

Un ofn pedes iz es geshribn:

“Ikh bin Ozymandias, der velt mayn kinigraykh;

Kuk oyf mayn verk, beygt zikh tsu mayn makht!”

Arum un arum dem gigantishn vrak

Alt iz khurbn, vistenish on an ek;

Di shtume zamdn lign breyt un vayt.


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