Der Fodem

The Thread
דער פֿאָדעם

Text by Mark Markovich Warshawsky (1840-1907), author and composer of many Yiddish song favorites like “Oyfn pripetshik,” (At the fireplace), “Di mizinke oysgegebn” (The youngest daughter’s wedding) and others. Text and music published in Yidishe folkslider (Warsaw, 1917) and in an arrangement by Leo Low in sheet music by Jos. P. Katz, N.Y., 1917.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


The sun is hidden,
its shine is gone
I sew and I sew,
I look and I see
the night, it is already night.
Every stitch of the needle
stabs me in the heart,
no one knows my torment and my pain…

My face, my face
is as pale as death;
The thread, the thread,
is wet with tears.

My father is dead,
my mother in the hospital,
I sew and I sew,
I look and I see
her suffering all the time.
Tommorow I’ll go to mother
for a whole night –
“Momma, I have brought my soul to comfort you.”

David broke off the engagement,
oh, woe is me.
I sew and I sew,
I look and I see
he made a fool out of me!
He has found another girl,
yes, a bride with money…
my world is empty and dark.

While I am working my hardest
I see David’s face before me..
I sew and I sew,
I look and I see
how happy he is with her!
But it is not her fault.
She, too, has a heart.
Perhaps she has her own grief. 

The light has gone out
but my woes have not gone…
I sew and I sew,
I look and I see
it’s already morning!
The thread is torn
in two, like my heart…
My tears flow, teardrops fall for both of them.

Di zun hot zikh bahaltn,
Ir shayn iz shoyn nito. . .
Ikh ney un ney,
Ikh ze, lkh ze
Di nakht, zi iz shoyn do.
Yeder shtokh mit der nodl
Tut mir a shtokh in harts,
Keyner veyst nit mayn payn un mayn shmarts. . .

Dos ponim, dos ponim,
Vi der toyt blas;
Der fodem, der fodem
Fun trern nas!

Der tate iz geshtorbn,
Di mame in shpitol,
Ikh ney un ney,
Ikh ze, ikh ze
Ir veytog ale mol.
Kh’gey morgn tsu der mamen
Oyf a gantser nakht —
— Mame, ikh hob dir mayn neshome gebrakht.

Dovid hot opgeshikt di tnoyim,
Vey iz mayne yor!. . .
Ikh ney un ney,
Ikh ze, ikh ze
Genart hot er mikh gor!
Er nemt an ender meydl,
A kale, yo, mit gelt. . .
Vist un fintster iz mayn velt!

Bay der shverster arbet
Shteyt Dovids bild far mir. . .
Ikh ney un ney,
Ikh ze, ikh ze
Gliklekh iz er mit ir!
Nor vos iz zi do shuldik —
Zi hot dokh oykh a harts. . .
Efsher flit zi dem eygenem shmarts!

Dos likht iz oysgegangen
Nor s’geyt nit oys mayn klog. . .
Ikh ney un ney,
Ikh ze, ikh ze
S’iz shoyn gevorn tog!
Opgerisn hot zikh der fodem
Vi mayn harts oyf tsvey. . .
Trern gisn, trern tropn oyf zey. . .

די זון האָט זיך באַהאַלטן,
איר שײַן איז שױן ניטאָ. . .
איך נײ און נײ,
איך זע, איך זע
די נאַכט, זי איז שױן דאָ.
יעדער שטאָך מיט דער נאָדל
טוט מיר אַ שטאָך אין האַרץ,
קײנער װײסט ניט מײַן פּײַן און מײַן שמאַרץ. . .

דאָס פּנים, דאָס פּנים,
װי דער טױט בלאַס;
דער פֿאָדעם, דער פֿאָדעם
פֿון טרערן נאַס!

דער טאַטע איז געשטאָרבן,
די מאַמע אין שפּיטאָל,
איך נײ און נײ,
איך זע, איך זע
איר װײטאָג אַלע מאָל.
כ’נײ מאָרגן צו דער מאַמען
אױף אַ גאַנצער נאַכט —
— מאַמע, איך האָב דיר מײַן נשמה געבראַכט.

דוד האָט אָפּגעשיקט די תּנאים,
װײ איז מײַנע יאָר!. . .
איך נײ און נײ,
איך זע, איך זע,
גענאַרט האָט ער מיך גאָר!
ער נעמט אַן אַנדער מײדל,
אַ כּלה, יאָ, מיט געלט. . .
װיסט און פֿינצטער איז מײַן װעלט!

בײַ דער שװערסטער אַרבעט
שטײט דודס בילד פֿאַר מיר. . .
איך נײ און נײ,
איך זע, איך זע,
גליקלעך איז ער מיט איר!ּ
נאָר װאָס איז זי דאָ שולדיק —
זי האָט דאָך אױך אַ האַרץ. . .
אפֿשר פֿילט זי דעם אײגענעם שמאַרץ!ּ

דאָס ליכט איז אױסגעגאַנגען
נאָר ס’גײט נישט אױס מײַן קלאָג. . .
איך נײ און נײ,
איך זע, איך זע,
ס’איז שױן געװאָרן טאָג!
אָפּגעריסן האָט זיך דער פֿאָדעם
װי מײַן האַרץ אױף צװײ. . .
טרערן גיסן, טרערן טראָפּן אױף זײ. . .

Song Title: Der Fodem

Composer: Mark Markovich Warshawsky
Composer’s Yiddish Name: מאַרק מ. װאַרשאַװסקי
Lyricist: Mark M. Warshavsky
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: מאַרק מ. װאַרשאַװסקי
Time Period: Unspecified

This Song is Part of a Collection

Pearls of Yiddish Song Cover with Illustration of musicians playing instruments

Pearls of Yiddish Song

First published in 1988 as Pearls of Yiddish Song: Favorite Folk, Art and Theatre Songs, this anthology contains 115 songs. Some material had never been published, while others, included in rare song collections or sheet music, were largely inaccessible. The songs presented reflect Jewish life in Eastern Europe and the United States and depict childhood, love, family celebrations, poverty, work and struggle. There are also songs from the Hasidic and Maskilic movements, songs of Zion and of America, as well as songs from the Yiddish theater.

The title of this anthology derives from the weekly two-page feature column “Pearls of Yiddish Poetry,” which the compilers Yosl and Chana Mlotek initiated in 1970 in the Yiddish newspaper Der Forvertz (the Yiddish Daily Forward). Hundreds of readers from around the world — including authors, composers, singers, actors — became co-participants in this collective folk project and recalled melodies, lines, fragments, stanzas and their variants of songs, poems, and plays which they had heard in their youth. At first, readers sent in only written material. Later, they also taped songs on cassettes, many of whose melodies had, until then, never been recorded. They also identified and supplied missing information regarding lyricists, poets, and composers and described the circumstances surrounding the songs’ origins, their dissemination, diffusion and impact.

Browse the Collection
Enter your email to download free sheet music for ​Der Fodem