Fields in spring

It is a spectacular spring day.

Though Yiddish word-processing continues to confound me*, I want share a spring poem by Rukhl Fishman, written in 1958. The poem is the second half of Poems for My Birthday, published in the book I Want to Fall Like This (Wayne State University Press), and translated by Seymour Levitan.


Rukhl Fishman Poems for my Birthday2


You have good teachers
You may yet
amount to something
though you never sit still
and often laugh out of turn.

You thought
you knew
but it was really Mount Gilboa
that taught you
to be silent.
Gilboa at night.

Fields in spring
taught you how to breathe.
Trees after rain
showed you how to shake off tears.
And long oh long ago
or snow
or far-off sunset
filled with joy
when you took your first dreamsteps.

You may yet amount to something!


Rather than write about her (anything I know would be from the foreword by David Roiskies and from the poems themselves), or about the translation, I will just share them as they are.

Blogging has been sparse lately, but I’ve been continuing to study and translate with the same vigor as before. I hope to at least check in to this space next week to wish everyone a zisn Peysekh, and I’m looking forward to seeing all my Rochester friends in May, when I will have the privilege of talking about my Zeidy and his work at Rochester Yiddish.

*I still seemingly have to choose between pictures of correctly-formatted klunky typography as I did above, or else scrambled word orders, or everything perfect except the punctuation, which gets shifted to the right side. Advice welcomed.


Fields in Spring

You learned how to breathe From fields in spring.

6 thoughts on “Fields in spring

  1. David: I am happy to see that you are in the good hands of spring! Yes I like her book. Please, can you send me again the audio clip for the wonderful song (Sephardic?) that you posted some months ago. And the music if you have it in print. It is very familiar to me but I can’t place it. See you in May! All good wishes. Leah


    LW (aka LZ)



  2. Dear David,
    Thank you for enriching my life with your blog. Have a wonderful Kosher Pessach,”CHAG SAMEACH
    and I hope to see you and listen to you in May. I just returned from a two week visit from Israel. It is an amazing country with wonderful people. Be well,see you soon, T


  3. hope this works, it was a struggle ,and my translation and yours meshed about 20% of the time so I really enjoyed reading the whole poem at the end–looking forward to seeing you in may. r


  4. Pingback: Where are the Poems? | Tongue's Memory

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