Lodz Ghetto Bridge(Yad Vashem)

The Scroll is adding to our poetry output with Scroll Verse, a recurring feature that presents the works of Jewish poets–or in some cases, poets who write on Tablet themes or have Jewish souls. Our last poem was Most People Are Bad, by Sheera Talpaz.

Our latest poem relates to some of our earlier content, a fantastic essay by Chava Rosenfarb on the tragic poet of Lodz, Simkha-Bunim Shayevitch. The essay was translated from Yiddish as was this week’s poem There On The Other Side. … Rosenfarb died last year.

A big thanks to Murray Citron, who did the translation.

There On The Other Side …

Written in the Lodz ghetto, at the beginning, winter, 1940

There on the other side is freedom.
You see it in the distance through the wires.
There on the other side–the free melody.
Time runs there, there
free people live.

Little brother, take my hand, stop crying.
Little brother, chew your bread with your teeth,
And don’t look over there any more.
Over there, green fields spread out,
my brother.

Forget all that, forget and chew your bit of bread.
Drink your anguish and eat.
And do you have a pillow? Lay down your head,
Your heavy, tired head. Dream in your sleep. There
forge freedom for yourself.

Yiddish original in Ghetto and Other Poems, Montreal, 1948.
Translation by Murray Citron.