Literature and Poetry/
Holocaust Remembrance Day

Natan Alterman

Menachem Mendel’s letter

Beautiful Shindel, by beautiful spouse

Between the layers of the moon you shine

Beautiful Shindel, through the night and the storm

In my mind I dream that you are touching me

 

Wearing my night gown made of down

And my hat is cocked from my nape to my forehead

Thus I strolled through life, thus I lay down dead

Because my image – thus they say – is everlasting.

 

Beautiful Shindel, white snow is falling

There is no person, everyone has ended, you must understand

Tuvia is dead

Mottel the son of Pissy the Cantor is dead

That dear man Uncle Pinny is dead

And on the snow rests Stempaino, small and barefoot

And he has always been full of grace

However the violin is silent, it plays no tunes

Simply because it has no one to play for anymore

 

And Toffele is also resting, the innocent Toutourito

The infant rests and smiles from death

They are eternal – the tears of the people

Therefore Toffele is immortal.

 

Beautiful Shindel, Night. Deep night.

Do you remember the night we separated?

With the people that gave him tears and fatigue

We also stood facing death
 

You wore, Beautiful Shindel, a festive kerchief

You cleaned my very old gown

And the people this time did not laugh

It kissed your radiant hand

 

Then in the night there were red flames

And I worded a will for you

On a small card, my beautiful Shindel

And it is clear that I forgot the most important part

 

The main thing is ,,,I wanted to say thank you to you

That I had a spouse who was patient and forgiving

Beautiful Shindel, we played an eternal comedy

But we finished otherwise, otherwise.

 

This prophesized our joke since then, before the end

When they played a violin in the mouth

The hearts of her heroes she struck with a fist

But no-one was there to hear

 

I also didn’t know, you also didn’t understand

The spectacle of grief that we played until the evening

No literature – thus they will say – could know the comedian

That like us bore the sword on his throat

 

Until the judgement day ...until we stood in the Diaspora

The knights of dreams, the geniuses of poverty

The great heroes of Jewish literature

Falling in the snow like me

 

My beautiful Shindel, through night and storm

You are touching my dead mind

My beautiful Shindel, my beautiful spouse

In the heavens the moon is shining

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