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DER YIDDISH-VINKL October 8, 2004

As the Jewish New Year approached, the pages of the Forverts devoted to Pearls of Yiddish Poetry ran several poems by different authors about Rosh Hashanah. They were all written in the past, and refer to these poets’ feelings and thoughts about the New Year at that time. What follows is a poem by Shimen Frug titled “Dos Kvitl” (“The Ticket”). The transliteration is by Goldie A. Gold. The English version is by Gus Tyler.

Dos Kvitl

In der hant a rayze-shtekn

Un a pekl oyf di pleytses,

Zay gebentsht fun erd un himl

Alter yor!

Zay gebensht vi der geviter

Mit di dunern un blitsn,

Velkhe makhn reyn dem oyer

Frish un klor!

Zay gebentsht far yene blitsn

Yene shtraln, yene flamen,

Velkhe hobn undz mit nayem

Likht bashaynt.

Un in undzer krankn hartsn

Oyfgemutert mut un viln,

Hoykh un shtolts dem kop tsu haltn

Farn faynt!

Nit mit krekhtsn, nit mit trern,

Nit mit soydes un khaloymes,

Nor mit viln unmit shtrebn

Oyfn vor.

Tsu a frayen mentshn-lebn

Shraybt aykh on alen dos kvitl,

Oyf a likhtikn un zisn

Nayem yor!

* * *|

The Ticket

In my hand a travel stick

And on my back my baggage thick.

I now depart, dear yesteryear,

And I do so without a fear….

May you be blessed for all your storms

That came in lightning, thundering forms.

For they did help to clear the ear,

So we could hear things fresh and clear.

Blessings for the bursting skies

For all the storms and all the flames,

For they did open up our eyes

So we saw things in fresher frames.

And thus within our sinking heart

These forces did our will restart.

We went about with heads held high

A force our foes could not deny.

’Twas not with moaning, not with tears

Nor all that stuff in dreams appears.

It was with struggle and with might

That we indeed did win the fight.

To win the battle for what’s right

You must yourself the ticket write.

Just cast away all numbing fear

And win a sweet and bright new year.

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