Abraham Sutzkever: “שפּילצײג / Toys”
שפּילצײג (original Yiddish text)
My daughter, you must care for your toys,
Poor things, they’re even smaller than you.
Every night, when the fire goes to sleep,
Cover them with the stars of the tree.
Let the golden pony graze
The cloudy sweetness of the field.
Lace up the little boy’s boots
When the sea-eagle blows cold.
Tie a straw hat on your doll
And put a bell in her hand.
For not one of them has a mother,
And so they cry out to God.
Love them, your little princesses—
I remember a cursed night
When there were dolls left in all seven streets
Of the city. And not one child.
Translated from Yiddish by Chana Bloch