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“Dos Naye Lid,” or “The New Song,” is the title of a poem by Abraham Reisen (1875-1953). When written, it did indeed represent a new mood — one of hope in circumstances that seemed hopeless.

“The New Song” was also, in the light of human history, an old song. In ancient Greece, there was the myth about Pandora, who opened the box she was told not to open only to let loose the endless tsores that plague and have plagued mankind.

But, happily, according to the ancient story, there was still one thing left in the box. It was hope — the hope that someday all our pains would be replaced with pleasures. In the Jewish tradition, the horrors of existence are repeatedly depicted as the prelude to the coming of the messiah. As the old saw says, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.”

So, when Reisen wrote “The New Song” he really was writing a “new” variation on an ancient theme. Der Vinkl recalls the poet’s upbeat view at this time as a positive note in a negative moment in human history.

The music and the transliterated version appear in “Songs of Generations” compiled by Eleanor and Joseph Mlotek. The English version is by Gus Tyler.

Dos Naye Lid

Un zol vi vayt nokh zayn di tsayt

Fun libe un fun sholem

Dokh kumen vet, tsi fri, tsi shpet

Di tsayt — es iz keyn kholem!

Ikh her dos lid fun libe, frid,

Di mekhtike gezangen;

Un yeder ton fun lig zogt on:

Di zun iz oyfgegangen!

Es ekt di nakht. Di velt dervakht

Ful hofnung, lust un shtrebn,

Du herst — in luft a shtime ruft:

Tsu glik un freyd and lebn!

The New Song

Although the time be far away

The day of peace is nearing.

What day we really can not say

But, some day it’s appearing.

I hear the song of love and peace

A tune of ringing singing

The message that it brings won’t cease

The sun a new day’s bringing.

The night is o’er, the day does dawn,

With hope and joy and giving

A voice does shout, “We are reborn

A time of love’s beginning.”

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