Old Age Home (New York Elegy). (Yiddish Poetry In Translation).
OLD AGE HOME (NEW YORK ELEGY) 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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|Date:||Jul 1, 2002|
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