Language: Yiddish

Translation Tuesday: Poems by Anna Margolin

Translated from the Yiddish by Maia Evrona

Mother Earth


Mother earth, much trodden, sun-washed,

dark slave and mistress

I am, beloved.

From me, the humble and the sullen,

you burst forth—a powerful stem.

And like the eternal stars, and as the flame from the sun,

I circle in long and blind silence

through your roots, through your branches

and half in vigil, and half in slumber,

I search, through you, for the high sky. READ MORE…

Translation Tuesday: Four Poems by Abraham Sutzkever

Translated from the Yiddish by Maia Evrona

An Acorn Gives Birth to a Tree, the Tree Gives Birth to a Fiddle


An acorn gives birth to tree, the tree gives birth to a fiddle

and you give birth to my star, so the night will be true.

You give birth to it far from here, its light belongs to me and to you,

you give birth to it where no leaf fades, nor anyone’s smile.


We haven’t been of this world for a score of silences now,

a heroic cosmos will not allow our joint death.

The earthly, the real, is real as earth and valid

and death no longer has any power over our breath.


His kingdom does not extend to the green Tree of Life,

what is past has not passed, time is not yet ripe.

Escaped from the clamor, our silence is love,

new images stream from the weeping eye of the soul.


The paired twitch of two silences in one

approaches perfection on a rung of its own.

This wonder-without-a-name tells of its deeds,

the language of atoms has a folksong’s simplicity.



Pop Around The World: Bei Mir Bistu Shein

A Yiddish song goes to war

You’ve read about it, Monday was supposedly the saddest day in the year, or so ‘scientists’ claim. Blue Monday. Of course that’s bullshit, as this Guardian blogpost heartily shows. Still, is it a coincidence that Monday also saw the arrival of the Berlin season of snow and ice? As someone with a decidedly ungenetic equatorial disposition, I’m having a hard time, needless to say, so I’m resorting to musical therapy to keep my morale up.

But what to play? New Order’d be good, if awfully literal, perhaps the steamrolling original, or this delightfully goth Gregorian version, or maybe the below French-language version by The Times, an English band signed to Creation Records that also recorded Japanese, Spanish, German, Brazilian Portuguese versions (all of which now very happily in my possession). READ MORE…