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On the occasion of his 55th yahrzeit, Perets Hirshbeyn was featured in the pages of the Forverts devoted to the “Pearls of Yiddish Poetry.” Hirshbeyn was a man of multiple talents and worldwide interests. He is best known as a playwright and theatrical impresario who organized the first Yiddish art theater. He was a world traveler setting foot on every continent on the globe.

What follows are three things: “Yamen Royshn,” a poem that Hirshbeyn wrote with an optimistic outlook on the future; “A Malekh Veynt,” a poem written by Yosl Mlotek upon Hirshbeyn’s premature departure; and “Oyf Finstern Shteg,” a reflective song by Hirshbeyn. The transliterations are by our frequent contributor Goldie Gold, and the English versions are by Gus Tyler.

Yamen Royshn

Yamen royshn/khvales shlogn/nekht un teg;

Hertser shmakhtn, lebns klogn/klogn.

Alte vegn — zey farfirn/alte lebns tsu a breg.

Yunge vegn — zey batsirn/dayne troymen un zey firn/

Dayne troymen tsu a breg.

Mayne shtern shaynen heler/oyf mayn veg.

Zol der morgn kumen shneler, shneler.

Flakert heler, mayne flamen,/mayne troymen oyf mayn veg!

Flakert heler, berg un yamen,

S’brent maynharts in mayne flamen,

Mayne troymen oyf mayn veg.

Oceans Roar

Oceans roar and waves do crash through all the day and night

Hearts do sorrow, lives are shattered and folks complain in pain

Ancient ways, they do mislead us, life is filled with fright.

Newer ways do bring us sunshine and chase away the rain.

The stars are shining lighter, brighter, as I go my way

“Oh, let the morning please come early with its glowing light

“Oh let the flame within me sparkle,” I do softly pray

Tomorrow all the world will be a saner, safer sight.

As I do travel over hills and over every dale

Let heartiness and happiness for everyone prevail.

* * *|

A Malekh Veynt

A malekh veynt, a malekh veynt

Un bedekt di groz mit toy.

Libster mayner, libster mayner

Ikh benk nokh dir azoy.

Es iz mayn bet mit pukh gebet,

Un ikh valger zikh oyf shtroy

Libster mayner, libster mayner,

Ikk benk nokh dir azoy.

An Angel Weeps

An angel weeps, an angel weeps

His tears bedeck the grass with dew.

Dear one I love, dear one I love

How sad this hour I mourn for you.

My bed is made of cushy down

But I sleep on a bed of straw.

Dear one I love, dear one I love

There’s none, there’s none that I love more.

* * *|

Oyf Finstern Shteg

Es leshn zikh shtern in himl

Es leshn zikh lebns oyf dr’erd

Far vemen s’iz likhtik zayn goyrl

Un vemen s’iz troyer bashert.

Es trefn zikh taykhn mit taykhn

Un gisn in yam zikh arayn

Un mentshn un lebns fargeyen

Aleyn in dem eygenem yam

Un falt ven a shtern fun himl

Dan hot er zayn likhtikn veg

Un mentshn un lebns fargeyen

Aleyn oyf a fintstern shteg.

On Dark Paths

Stars in the sky are extinguished

And so are we humans once live.

It happens to people distinguished

And happens to those most deprived.

Rivers do flow into rivers

Together they end in the sea.

Although it does give me the shivers

The same goes for you and for me.

The “sea” is the darkness in which we do fall

In darkness we’ll wander beyond all recall.

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