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DER YIDDISH-VINKL June 9, 2006

Eleanor Gordon Mlotek and Joseph Mlotek were compilers of a series of books published by the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring. One of these compendia is titled “Pearls of Yiddish Poetry,” the same title of a regular column in the Forverts. The following poem by Abraham Reisen is taken from the Mlotek compendium. The English version is by Gus Tyler.

Hulyet, Hulyet, Beyze Vintn

Hulyet, hulyet, beyze vintn,

Fray behersht di velt!

Brekht di tsvaygn, varft di beymer

Tut vos aykh gefelt.

Traybt di feygl fun di felder

Un faryogt zey fort;

Di vos kenen vayt nisht flien,

Teyt zey ofn ort.

Rayst di odn fun di hayzlekh

Shoybn brekht aroys

Brent a likhtl ergets tunkl

Lesht mit tsorn oys!

Hulyet, hulyet beyze vintn

Itst iz ayer tsayt

Lang vet doyern der vinter

Zumer iz nokh vayt.

* * *|

Howl, Howl, Raging Winds

Howl, oh howl, ye winds so wicked

These hours belong to you

Destroy what comes within your thicket

Just do what pleases you.

Drive the birdies from their nesting

Yes, drive them far away

Explain that you are merely testing

How great o’er all your sway.

Now tear the roofs right from the houses

Make sure to break the windowpanes

And if with you the thought arouses

Do other things inflicting pains.

Howl, oh howl, ye winds so wicked

These hours belong to you

Destroy what comes within your thicket

These days belong to you.

* * *|

As time passed, and the tide of human events began to change, the final lines became:

Lang der vinter vet nisht doyern,

zumer is nisht vayt.

Long the winter won’t endure,

for summer’s on the way!

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