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.
In der hant a rayze-shtekn
Un a pekl oyf di pleytses,
Zay gebentsht fun erd un himl
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
Un in undzer krankn hartsn
Oyfgemutert mut un viln,
Hoykh un shtolts dem kop tsu haltn
Nit mit krekhtsn, nit mit trern,
Nit mit soydes un khaloymes,
Nor mit viln unmit shtrebn
Tsu a frayen mentshn-lebn
Shraybt aykh on alen dos kvitl,
Oyf a likhtikn un zisn
* * *|
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.