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Old Age Home (New York Elegy). (Yiddish Poetry In Translation).


 Sometimes I walk by the old-age home
 On hot evenings and see them all outside
 Set out with their faces toward a dying day,
 The old parents, disaster-objects of an age,
 The quiet Lears, whose own sons and daughters
 Put them out of wealthy homes
 Like old sticks of furniture.
 I see them like that waiting for their death--
 With helpless sad beards, and grandmotherly kerchiefs,
 One with a Yiddish page in his withered hand,
 Another with a psalm-book, which cries between his fingers
 And then I know, that they themselves have
 Taken me and the language of my stanzas
 And put us out of their homes
 Like an old stick of furniture, an unexpected remnant
 Of a world, whose heirs have
 Sold it to the spirit of nothingness.
 and I know: condemned I sit between them
 And wait for death together with them
 The old-ladies and old-men.

Two poems translated from the Yiddish by Zelda Kahan Newman

Arn (Aharon) Zeitlin (1899-1974) was the son of the well-known religious Yiddish writer and thinker, Hillel Zeitlin. He grew up near Vilna but spent most of his adult life in Warsaw. He wrote poems, plays, and essays in Hebrew, as well as in Yiddish, and was the editor of important journals in both languages. He was in New York overseeing a production of his play, Esterke, when the Germans overran Poland. His wife and son were murdered by the Germans. He wrote a column for the Day-Morning Journal and taught Hebrew literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary.
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Author:Zeitlin, Arn
Article Type:Poem
Date:Jul 1, 2002
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