Home >> Earlier Versions

(Andrew Firestone, 2007):

A number of the poems in Unter Fremde Himlen had earlier publication: in Melbourne’s two Yiddish weekly newspapers, in the periodical Oyfboy, and in the earlier (1944) Tsushteyer anthology, as well as in the bundist periodical Undzer Shtime.

A. Tsushteyer  Anthology  1944 (pp59-61): 3 untitled poems.
Click here to see earlier versions.
1. Became (with minor alterations) In a zelner getselt (p.50)
2. Became (a much improved) Beyn-haShmoshes (p.57)
3. Became In Plonternish (p.56), note that the last verse (urging belief on himself) has been omitted in the book.

A. Oyfboy
This was a small Yiddish monthly magazine produced by the leftwing that was associated with Kadimah, the Yiddish language cultural centre of Melbourne. Oyfboy was literary and artistic but intended as a forum for social issues, both local and international. It appeared for a few years only, (nos 1 – 26, 1945 – Jan/Feb1948).

The September 1945 issue gave a column of p.8 to two poems, untitled, of Birstein’s, both set out in sonnet form (4, 4,3,3). With few changes, these became pp.36-37, Di Loytere Verter and In Midn Gang – why the sonnet layout has been obscured in the book, for the latter one, is unclear.

The earlier versions differed as follows:
Di Loytere Verter:
l.2: farzinken in gelkayt fun eygene bleter
In Midn Gang:

l.2: fardrus
l.4: fintsert mayn gemit: - tsu vos?
l.7 comma at end
l.8 comma after oygn
l.9 comma at end
l.13 and 14:
leyent mayn hoyker-shtimung mit badoyer:
“s’iz shtendik do a hant vos shlogt”.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~       Top^

The December 1945 issue of Oyfboy devoted one and a half pages to 3 poems of Yossel’s:

1. Mayn Bruderl (p.22)

Oyfboy lacked the book’s last verse, with its Chassidic hopefulness. Other minor differences were:

verse 1: 3rd line was: a shpaykhler iz yedns gemit
l.5:had not lid but leyb without a comma
l.6  ended with full stop.

verse 2, l.1: full stop after shtub
line 2: full stop after yor.

verse 3, l.5: zero punctuation marks; was not heymishe shtub but orime shtub

verse 4: 2nd last line: fintstern hoyz was orimn hoyz

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~       Top^

2. Mayn Shvester Chane’len: in the book collection, this has been divided in two and appears at pp 12 and  pp13, as Oyf dayn fayerdike Khasene  and Tseykhns fun dayn ponim. The latter was ‘part b’ in Oyfboy.
Each part appeared there in sonnet layout -  4, 4, 3, 3.

There were commas in ll. 1&2 after moyd and after kheynen
l.2: vi balaytns was vi bay laytn (the book’s appears to be a typo).
l.5: before ver was un
l.6: gekumen zenen ale – vayte skheynim.
l.10: full stop.
l.12: tantzn was brenen
l.14: comma after khasene

Also in sonnet form was part b:
l.2: groye was groyse (may have been a typo in Oyfboy)
l.3: hot fun dir aropgeloykhtn
l.8 was: a remez oyf dem vos hot gedarfn kumen.

In the book, the last 6 lines have been refashioned as 5. In the magazine they read:

S’iz gekumen. Itzt iz alts shoyn klor
vi s’iz dos groz oyfn gutn feld,
vi s’iz di fintsternish fun undzer vor.

Zi yogt unz nokh di fintsternish oyf yedn shpan
shtey ikh mitn ponim tsu der velt

tsu likhtikayt, vos iz in ash faran.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~       Top^

3. Bahel mikh nisht (p.24)

The last poem in the Dec 1945 Oyfboy issue, it appears in the book with slight changes:

l.3 was: a vinkl nont (=noent)
l.5: mindste was shtile and a comma at end of line
ll.7&8:  trogt in zikh dem peyn
vos iz ir vayt un dokh bakant

l.9 had no punctuation at all

ll21&22 were:
kh’ze mayn elter-zeydn
er shteyt oyfn shpitz fun kretchme-dakh.

l.27 had simply shpreyt

l.31: Badarf ikh gornisht kayn megiles
l.36 dash after gloybn

l.43: trit was gemit

un fataytssht dem pshat fun velt –

durkh freyd, libshaft un gezang.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~       Top^

Oyfboy – April 1946
Click here to see the earlier version of Birstein’s poem Ir oyfgegangene , as published in the April 1946 issue of Oyfboy.  

Oyfgegangene at p.28 of the book no longer has the vocative  title because the dedication has been removed; and it has only 6 verses of 4 lines each. The changes may simply have been due to the paper shortage  - with paper still in too short supply in 1949 to warrant more than 2 pages in the book

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~       Top^

Oyfboy – October 1947

P.8 has two Birstein poems (concl. on p.9), under a fine picture
of “Sholem Aleichem geshtaltn” by his best friend, Yosl Bergner. The 2 poems are:

1.Unter der droendiker hant... cf. p.19
Apart from the improved title, all the changes are very minor. In the fourth last line, YIVO Yiddish has prevailed over his rhyme scheme of tun/ zun.

2. Oykh ikh bin nisht mer vi a zakh  cf. p.65 In fabrik

As may be seen, some improvements have been made, though the original title was stronger. The two last verses aren’t reproduced on the site, but the last verse remained unchanged; while the one before it  read:

Oykh iber mir zilbert der shtoyb.
Arum mir – a vant mit a vant.
Dos eybike likht durkh der shoyb
shtrekt oykh tsu mir oys a hant.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~       Top^

C. In the weeklies

Tsu di troyerike fun mayn folk

Called Fun Vartn Mid in his collection (p.38), this was first published  20.9.1946 on p.7 of the Yidishe Post. The original differed in minor respects:

l.6 not trayst but freyd
ll 11, 12:
Fun der tifenish fun unzer klog
derhern veln mir zayne trit.

ll 15,16:
un fregn unz mit shtile reyd
vu iz ahingekumen unzer freyd?

l.18: az ongeton hot zikh fun unz di freyd.
l.19: not vayl but az

l.20: not nor but un az

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~       Top^

Oykh dayn dor hot in benkshaft azoy opgelebt...  (p.60)

Written in 1947. Over 500 people attended  Kadimah Hall, Carlton, in Melbourne on Sunday March 2, 1947 for the Yortsayt commemoration for Pinkhas Goldhar,Australia’s first, and foremost, Yiddish short story writer.  This poem was recited by the great actor Rokhl Holcer  (described in Oystral Yid Post, 7/3/47; poem first published in same weekly, 23/1/48).

The earlier publication differs from the book in minor respects only:

throughout, nisht was previously nit

l.10: ended with semicolon
l.15: ended without a comma
l 17: vi   was  azoy
l.38: had no comma after freyd
l.42: had no commas, and ended with a fullstop.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~       Top^

Tokhter Sheyne fun di dray matones  (p.21)

This first appeared in Yidishe Post 12.9.47 on p.7, with the same dedication.

The earlier version has two stanzas only, each of 8 lines; otherwise little has changed:

l 1 had comma, not dash.
l 3 had dash not full stop.
l7 had no comma
l.8 aroysgepreplt  was aroysgeleyent
l 13   had no full stop
l 14   began with un  in place of oykh

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~       Top^

Vos in sforim shteyt farshribn 

First published  in  Oystralishe Yidishe Nayes  12.9.47 p7 (Rosh haShanah issue).

P.49 of the book calls it Vi zol mayn lid. For the book the last verse has been omitted. Loss of the last verse, and of the original title, significantly desacralizes the poem. But space limitations due to immediate post-War paper shortage may have been the chief cause. Click here to read the poem.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~       Top^

Zog, Ki Tov, Es iz gut...

First published 30.10.47 in Yidishe Post p.6.

The poem at p.46 of his collection has the shortened title, and four fewer lines. Corrections have been made. Probably to fit to a single page, the refrain of the last two lines has been removed from the two middle verses. The earlier version was as follows:

Di erd vet vi shtendik farblaybn shoyn groys,
nor dos vos geher (sic) unz is orem un kleyn –
zog shire derfar vos es iz in (sic) unzer hoyz
nokh ofn far ale vos kumen tsu geyn,
vayl a tog mit a tog vet fargeyn
un mir veln farblaybn aleyn.

Zog ki tov. S’iz gut oykh derfar,
vos in der farvorlozter fremd
kumt ver nokh dertseyln unz zayn tsar
un s’blaybt unzer shvel nisht farshemt.
Vayl a tog mit a tog vet fargeyn
un mir veln farblaybn aleyn.

Zey veln farloyrn geyn do mit der tsayt,
di shlekhte, oykh efsher di gute – ver veyst?
un mir veln farblaybn farukt in a zayt,
vi altitshke mentshn tsu mutlen... farshteyst
a tog mit a tog vet fargeyn
un mir veln farblaybn aleyn.

S’vet yeder avek mitn likht funm tog
un mer shoyn nisht kumen tsurik.
Un mir veln vartn, biz tun vet a zog
ikh oder du, mit a kol a dershtikt:
ze, a tog mit a tog tut fargeyn
un mir zenen alts nokh aleyn...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~       Top^

Kh’geher shoyn nisht mer (p. 66)

This was first published in Oystr. Yid. Nayes, 15.10.1948, p.6.
That version differed slightly as follows:

l.1 no comma
l.2 has full stop
l.3 no colon
l.9 full stop not comma
l.10: was
zet oys, az dos umglik vakst-mit mit mayn lebn.
l.13  was
Zey shteln zikh tsukopns. Far’akshn’t un shtar.
l.16 full stop
l.17 not comma but full stop
l.18 no comma
l.20 no comma after velt
l.21 no comma after visn ; full stop at end
ll.22&24  full stops at end

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~       Top^

Mayn Zeydn hot di tumldike velt farshemt (p.68 – 71)

First published in Oystr. Yid. Post, 10/2/1949 (p5). It was not illustrated then. Only a few changes were made for the book publication, which followed soon after.

l.1 had no comma
l.8 full stop was comma
l.10 had no comma
l.12 full stop was comma
l.17 colon was semicolon
l.21 ended with comma
l.26 had fullstop
l.28 full stop was comma
l.29 vakhman was shomer
l.32 bahaltn was farshvign
l.33 dort was ort (a typo I think)
l.34 had comma
l.37 had comma after shvaygn and colon at end of line
l.39 dayn guf was dayn yungn guf

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~       Top^

| Book | Other Poems | About | Archive | Translators | Acknowledgments | Links | Contact Us   

Website Design Twam Design
Yiddish Poetry