From the recording Pashtes [simplicity]

lyrics and English translation: Simcha Simchovitch (SIMCHA WRITES/SOCAN)
music: Lenka Lichtenberg (LENKAL MUSIC/SOCAN)
arrangement: Brian Katz (LILAH MUSIC/SOCAN)


hot er a kind a likhtikes gehat,
nisht far im geven iz er a foter;
in shlof bagegnt hot er im,
in shlof gezegnt hot er im,
bloyz di nakht hot oysgeleyzt
fun shklafnmi un mater.

hot er gezungen dos troyerlid
fun ale tates di farkhoyshekhte,
fun ale freyd-baroybte kinder;
dos harte lid fun groyer noyt,
dem kholem vegn likht un broyt:
“az okh un vey, okh un vey,
nor broyt mit tey, nor broyt mit tey.”
Nor nodlshtokh, nor hamerklap,
Nor shtikenish un shveys fun shap.

un s’hot zayn vort
zikh getzundn un geglit
mit buntarish lid,
mit tzeyn-gekritz un mit geshelt
akegn makhthober fun der velt!

nor s’hot der yeush nisht derdrikt,
dos harts fun dikhter nisht gefangen;
getrogn hot er fun dos nay
dem arbesman treyst-gezangen.

He had a child, a sunny little boy,
but seldom could he be with him:
The child was sleeping when he left
and was asleep when he returned,
only night released the father
from his daily drudgery.

He then sang the gloomy song
of all downcast fathers
and their disappointed children,
the hard song of a grey existence:
Az och un vey! Only bread and tea,
only the humming of machines
in the steaming sweatshop.

Like hidden flames his words
burst in rebellious song,
damning the mighty of this world!

But despair did not subdue
the poet’s heart into submission.
He carried anew and again,
for his fellow workingmen –
songs of courage and consolation.