Chava Alberstein - Di Elter (English translation)

Yiddish

Di Elter

S'iz di elter nit geshmak, zogn ale zkeynim.
Af di dermbes kumt di hak, in a tog a sheynem...
Ven di dembes vern alt, faln zey in mitn vald.
 
Vert der shtoltser odler alt, iz zayn shvung a lign.
Un der alter leyb in vald zitst un khapt zikh flign.
Shtarke leybn vernt alt, faln zey in mitn vald.
 
"Af der elter iz nit gut!", zogt men af der elter.
Kelter vert dos heyse blut, foyglen vern elter.
Flinke foyglen vern alt, faln zey in mitn vald.
 
Af der elter vert men alt, kiler vert der flaker.
Nor der vayn, ven ven er iz alt, iz er nokh geshmaker.
Nor der alter vayn iz gut, zol er varemen dos blut!
 
Vet mayn harts nit vern groy, vet mayn vort nit kiln.
Vet in veg der kalter toy, mayn gezang nit shtiln.
Oyb kh'vel muzn alt shoyn zayn, vil ikh alt zayn vi der vayn!
 
Biz di elter hot ir shtoyb af mayn kop farlorn,
tut dem altn vayn a hoyb far di yunge yorn,
farn eybik-grinem vald, farn mentsh, vos vert nit alt!
 
Submitted by SaintMark on Thu, 12/10/2017 - 22:32
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English translation

Old Age

Old age is not a picnic, so old people say.
One fine day the axe comes and cuts the oaks away...
But when the oaks grow old, they drop dead in the forest.
 
When the haughty eagle ages,
his swoop becomes a lie.
The old lion in the forest just sits and catches flies.
Mighty lions grow old and drop dead in the forest.
 
"It isn't good to get so old",so say all who've done so.
The hot blood starts to run quite cold,
birds become more lonesome.
Nimble birds grow old and drop dead in the forest.
 
When old age comes, old's what you get
and your flame burns cooler.
Unless you're wine: when it gets old
its flavour gets much better.
Only wine that's old is good, let it warm the blood.
 
My heart will not grow grey, my word not grow cooler.
The chilly dew upon my path
won't make my song grow stiller.
If I really have to age, I want to age like wine.
 
Until such time as old age wastes
its dust upon my head,
lift a glass of ancient wine to years of youth instead;
to the forest, ever green;
to humanity, which does not grow old.
 
Submitted by SaintMark on Thu, 12/10/2017 - 22:33
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Idioms from "Di Elter"
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