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DER YIDDISH-VINKL January 21, 2005

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.

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