A song that was popular among second-generation American Jews in the 1930’s.
I know a girl, a daydreamer,
with eyes black as the night.
Everyone knows that I love her,
and she laughs and laughs and laughs.
I take her out walking
and I draw her close to me
and tell her that I love her–
but she laughs and laughs and laughs.
Years later, life brings
her and me together again.
Her dark eyes are sparkling brighter than ever,
and she still laughs and laughs and laughs.
Kh’ken a meydl a fartrakhte,
Oygn shvartse vi di nakht,
Az ikh lib ir veysn ale,
Un zi lakht un lakht un lakht.
Nem ikh ir oyf a shpatsir,
Un ikh drik ir tsu tsu mir,
Un ikh zog ir az ikh lib ir —
Nor zi lakht un lakht un lakht.
Mit yorn shpeter hot undz dos lebn
Ir mit mir tsuzamengebrakht,
Oygn shvartse finklen shtarker —
Un zi lakht nokh alts un lakht.
כ’קען א מײדל אַ פֿאַרטראַכטע,
אױגן שװאַרצע וױ די נאַכט,
אַז איך ליב איר װײסן אַלע,
און זי לאַכט און לאַכט און לאַכט.
נעם איך איר אױף אַ שפּאַציר,
און איך דריק איר צו צו מיר,
און איך זאָג איר, אַז איך ליב איר,
נאָר זי לאַכט און לאַכט און לאַכט.
מיט יאָרן שפּעטער האָט אונדז דאָס לעבן
איר מיט מיר צוזאַמענגעבראַכט,
אױגן שװאַרצע פֿינקלען שטאַרקער —
און זי לאַכט נאָך אַלץ און לאַכט.
Song Title: Ikh Ken A Meydl
First published in 1972, Mir Trogn A Gezang: Favorite Yiddish Songs was reprinted six more times (in 1977, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000) due to popular demand. The songs in this anthology represent a sampling of beloved folk and well-known Yiddish songs, many of which are scattered in various song collections; some appear in very rare and inaccessible collections; and some were never before published. Folk songs comprise about a third of this volume and were selected mainly on the basis of popularity and sometimes for their historic significance. Needless to say, they are only representative of the vast, rich treasure of Yiddish folk material. The selection was made not only on the basis of personal preference, but in the knowledge they are favorites of many who sing these songs. Most of the songs represent the repertoire that was sung at Yiddish summer camps, May 1st demonstrations and at social gatherings. Many songs were introduced to American Jewry by Jewish immigrants who came to the United States after World War II, for whom these songs had been favorites in Poland and other East European communities destroyed by the Nazis.