Lid Fun Mayn Dor

Song of My Generation
ליד פֿון מײַן דור

Poem by Wolf Younin (1908-1984); music by Eli Rubinstein. Received from Sylvia Younin and Mina Bern: Music transcribed by Zalmen Mlotek. The song was in the repertoire of Ben Bonus.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


So how are you, good friends,
after so many years?
today I am starving
for an affectionate word.
This melody has gone to my head
the melody of my generation,
like old, fine wine
and driven my cares away.

For a thousand years I’ve been floating around
between day and night,
and it accompanies me everywhere,
–my mother tongue;
I sing in Yiddish and am silent in Yiddish,
and I cry and laugh,
even when a storm comes
and tears my roof off.

So play, Shmie-Elye,
play with your group
of faithful musicians.
Play until dawn!
Play hotter and faster
than a tarantella,
strike up the song
of my generation with fire!

Birds fly in groups of three,
rustling quietly like silk;
Oh, birds, birds– take me with you
into the far distance.
I will fly like you fly
with the clouds by my side
and I’ll sing my song up there–
the song of our time.

With a finger on the windowpane
I write silent words:
“Comrade– hope and faith,
our chain is made of gold!”
See how grandfather’s old wagon
is flying there in orbit
with everything he has bought
for us at the fair.

Vos zhe makht ir, gute fraynd,
Nokh azoy fil yor?
Oysgehungert bin ikh haynt
Nokh a varem vort.
Shikert mikh der nign ayn,
Der nign fun mayn dor,
Azoy vi alter, guter vayn
Un fartraybt di zorg.

Toyznt yor shveb ikh arum
Tsvishn tog un nakht
Un zi bagleyt mikh umetum,
Zi — mayn mames shprakh;
Oyf yidish zing ikh un ikh shtum,
Un ikh veyn un lakh,
Afile ven a shturem kumt
Un rayst arop mayn dakh.

To shpil, shpil, Shime-Elye,
Shpil mit dayn kapelye,
Klezmer getraye,
Shpilt zhe biz kayor!
Nokh heyser un shneler
Fun a tarantele,
Shpilt oyf mit fayer
Dos lid fun mayn dor!

Flien feygl zalbedrit,
Royshn shtil vi zayd;
Feygl, feygl nemt mikh mit
In der vayter vayt.
Vel ikh flien vi ir flit
Mit volkns bay mayn zayt
Un zingen oybn dart mayn lid-
Dos lid fun undzer tsayt.

Mit a finger oyf der shoyb
Shrayb ikh shtume reyd:
“Guter bruder-hof un gloyb,
Fun gold iz undzer keyt!”
Ze dem zeydns alte boyd
Dort in orbit flit
Mit alts vos er hot ayngekoyft
Far undz oyf dem yarid.

װאָס זשע מאַכט איר, גוטע פֿרײַנד,
נאָך אַזױ פֿיל יאָר?
אױסגעהונגערט בין איך הײַנט
נאָך אַ װאַרעם װאָרט.
שיכּורט מיך דער ניגון אײַן.
דער ניגון פֿון מײַן דור.
אַזױ װי אַלטער, גוטער װײַן
און פֿאַרטרײַבט די זאָרג.

טױזנט יאָר שװעב איך אַרום
צװישן טאָג און נאַכט
און זי באַגלײט מיך אומעטום,
זי — מײַן מאַמעס שפּראַך;
אױף ייִדיש זינג איך און איך שטום,
און איך װײן און לאַך,
אַפֿילו װען אַ שטורעם קומט
און רײַסט אַראָפּ מײַן דאַך.

טאָ — שפּיל, שפּיל שימע־עליע,
שפּיל מיט דײַן קאַפּעליע,
קלעזמער געטרײַע,
שפּילט זשע ביז קאַיאָר!
נאָך הײסער און שנעלער,
פֿון אַ טאַראַנטעלע,
שפּילט אױף מיט פֿײַער
דאָס ליד פֿון מײַן דור!

פֿליִען פֿײגל זאַלבעדריט,
רױשן שטיל װי זײַד;
פֿײגל, פֿײגל — נעמט מיך מיט
אין דער װײַטער װײַט.
װעל איך פֿליִען װי איר פֿליט
מיט װאָלקנס בײַ מײַן זײַט —
און זינגען אױבן דאָרט מײַן ליד —
דאָס ליד פֿון אונדזער צײַט.

מיט אַ פֿינגער אױף דער שױב
שרײַב איך שטומע רײד:
”גוטער ברודער — האָף און גלױב,
פֿון גאָלד איז אונדזער קײט!“
זע דעם זײדנס אַלטע בױד
דאָרט אין אָרביט פֿליט
מיט אַלץ װאָס ער האָט אײַנגעקױפֿט
פֿאַר אונדז אױף דעם יאַריד.

Song Title: Lid Fun Mayn Dor

Composer: Eli Rubinstein
Composer’s Yiddish Name: עלי רובינשטײן
Lyricist: Wolf Younin
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: װאָלף יונין
Time Period: Unspecified

This Song is Part of a Collection

Songs of Generations: New Pearls of Yiddish Song

The Songs of Generations: New Pearls of Yiddish Song anthology comprises songs that were either never printed before or appeared in rare and inaccessible publications — sometimes in different versions and without proper sources. Most of the songs in this book were submitted by readers of Chana and Yosl’s column “Perl fun der yidisher poezye” (Pearls of Yiddish Poetry) in the Yiddish newspaper Der Forverts (The Forward), initiated in October, 1970. Over 25 years, thousands of songs were collected in correspondence and on cassettes from readers throughout the world, and they represent a veritable national Yiddish song archive. Chana Mlotek, in her introduction, writes, “In the course of years the inquiries, contributions and enthusiasm of these readers have kept our own interest unflagging and have reinforced our dedication to this effort. And in recent years our participants have also been augmented by new readers from the former Soviet Russia, who receive our newspaper there or from newly-arrived immigrants in this country and Israel.”

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