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DER YIDDISH-VINKL May 9, 2003

When the editor of this column was a little boy, which, indeed, he once was, his mother would, on occasions when he crowded the house with friends, say that they were a “pozharne komande.” He did not know what it meant literally, but he sensed it referred to his gang. It was not until he found a song in the compilation by Eleanor Gordon Mlotek titled “Mir Trogn a Gezang” that he realized that “pozharne komande” means “the fire brigade.” The poem was written by Wolf Younin and the Vilna poet Sh. Kahn in the late 1920s. The English version is by Gus Tyler.

Pozharne Komande

— Tsi zol ikh zikh farshraybn

In der pozharne komande

Un onton a roytn mundir?

Zog mir nur, lyubenyu,

Zog nir, krasavetse,

Vayl folgn folg ikh nor dir.

— Un ikh vel mir oysputsn

In mayn tsitsene platetse,

Un oystsvogn mit kerosin di hor,

Mir veln gulyayaven

Mit a medlener pokhodkele

Un firn a nyezhnem razgovor.

— Oy, ikh vel zikh arumfirn

Mit dir ibern shtetele

In glantsike shtivelekh fun yukh

Kh’vel dir traktireven

Mit selserske vasern

Un rufn mayn libste, mayn tsukht.

— Un du vest zikh onton

Di meshene kaskele

Vos glantst vi a gilderne kroyn

Un mayne podrugelekh

Veln mikh mekane zayn

Un zogn az du bist a parshoyn.

The Fire Brigade

He: Say should I now enroll

And join the fire brigade

And don a uniform

And march in a parade?

Now tell me what to do

I listen but to you.

She: I’ll dress up in my best

The one that’s calico

My hair I will caress

And go where you may go.

And with you take a twirl

Because I am your girl.

He: I’ll walk with you through town

And don my shiny boots

And seltzer we will down

And do whatever suits

Your mood for you are mine

My beauty, so divine.

She: And when your helmet’s on

And glistens like a crown

The girls will look upon

Me with an envious frown.

But they will all admit

That you are really “it.”

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