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Let’s all remember that more and more poetry gets lost without earnest attempts at translation.Read poetry here to get a glimpse of the rhythms and resonances of languages you don’t know.

String of Beads: Poems by Pessie Hershfeld Pomerantz

Sep 9, 2022 | Poetry | 1 comment

Translated from Yiddish by Jessica Kirzane 
gates by Pessie Hershfeld Pomerantz

somewhere, gates await us.
golden-plated gates.
these sorrowful days of ours
like a row of lonely birch trees
on a tearful autumn day—
each one the same.

the paths lead us
uphill and down
taking us to
the gold-plated gates…

your speech

your speech. 

your quiet cry rinsed
the dust off my soul.
now my heart is pure with joy
and once again your speech
blossoms for me
like fresh flowers
after a light rain.

blue flowers

blue flowers
(for Aaron Zeitlin)

your eyes – blue flowers
that kiss the sunbeams
by the stream in springtime.

I have a spray of blue flowers
buttoned to my coat
so I will never forget
the color of your eyes…



you don’t say much.
you lack a friend
to understand
your every glance—
let me be your friend.

quiet by Pessie Hershfeld Pomerantz


I bear a silence in me
like a quiet early autumn night—
when the birds stop singing
and the last summer bloom withers.

I bear a silence in me—
the silence of a child
with no more tears to cry.

Also, read a short story by the stalwart Bengali writer, Manik Bandopadhyay , translated to English by Nishi Pulugurtha , published in The Antonym 

Prehistoric— Manik Bandopadhyay

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Pessie Hershfeld Pomerantz (May 20, 1900-August 8, 1978) was born in Kamenobrod, Volonia, the youngest of five children. She and her family came to the United States and settled in Chicago in 1913, when she was 13 years old. There, she worked in a sweatshop while also continuing to study. She first began publishing poetry in 1918, in New York and Chicago Yiddish periodicals. In 1926, the L. M. Shtayn publishing company published her first book of poetry, titled Kareln (String of Beads). Critics praised Kareln for its “charming grace and fine rhythm” and remarked upon the poems’ balancing of melancholy with a feeling of distant hope.

Jessica Kirzane is the assistant instructional professor of Yiddish at the University of Chicago and the editor-in-chief of In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies. My translations have appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, Your Impossible Voice, Columbia Journal, Pakn Treger, and elsewhere. I am the translator of Miriam Karpilove’s Diary of a Lonely Girl or the Battle Against Free Love (Syracuse University Press, 2020) and Judith (Farlag Press, 2022).

1 Comment

  1. Anastasia Pantsios

    Although these aren’t in strict haiku form, there’s a very haiku-like feel to the imagery. Do you know of she had knowledge of Japanese poetry and could have been influenced by it?


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