DER YIDDISH-VINKL June 25, 2004
Among the audience members at Guest Night at the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring lodge in August 1987 was Shaia Sheinkman — a talented sculptor, painter, poet and play producer who, in later years, was known as the father of Jack Sheinkman, who was president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. To lift the downcast mood of the rainy day, Shaia wrote a poem to the tune of the then popular “Enjoy Yourself, It’s Later Than You Think.” What follows is his original text superseded by an English version by Gus Tyler.
Fargin zikh, fraynt, s’iz shpeter vi du denkst
Fun yor tsu yor, verst elter un du krenkst.
Di tsayt loyft shnel, un makht fun dir a tel
Genis, hob fargenign, vayl di elter iz oyfn shvel.
Du horovest dayn gantsin lebn — un shporst op yedn sent
Shporst fun esn un fun trinken, un oykh funem rent.
Du denkst der gantser zin fun lebn ligt bloyz inem gelt
Gedenk — men nemt dok hgornit mit ven men geyt oyf yener velt.
Du horevest dayn gantsn lebn — rust zikh gornit op
Du troymst a luftrayze tsu makh,n leygst es op.
Du vartst biz vanen vest vern raykh, un arbetst vi a ferd
Nor vi vayt ken men forn ven du ligst zeks fus in d’rerd.
Du zorgst zikh ven es geyt dir gut — du zorgst zikh ven s’iz shlekht
Du zorgst zikh ven s’iz heys tsi kalt — un shlofst nit gantse nekht.
Du fargest in gantsn vegn haynt, un zorgst zikh vegn morgn
Genis fun lebn, libe fraynt, un loz tsu got di zorgn.
Enjoy yourself, my friend, it’s later than you think
It won’t be long before your body’s on the blink.
You think that life is all about the bloody buck
I say, “Enjoy. Have lots of fun. And press your luck.”
You toil through all your life and try to save each cent
You save on food and drink and even on the rent.
You think the aim of life is money in the bank
But in the other world, your check is but a blank.
You labor all your life and never take a rest
You plan to make a trip but somehow lack the zest.
You wait until the time when you in wealth are drowned
But how far can you travel when you are underground?
You worry when it’s gong well and also when it’s not
You worry when it’s cold and worry when it’s hot.
You can’t enjoy today, you worry ’bout tomorrow
I say, enjoy today and leave to God the sorrow.