A Bissel Yiddish
From Nanci Goldman
This poem is credited to Gene Wilder. It's good to keep the language alive.
Yiddish was the secret code, therefore I don't farshtaist,
A bisseleh maybe here and there, the rest has gone to waste.
Sadly when I hear it now, I only get the gist,
My Bubbeh spoke it beautifully; but me, I am tsemisht.
So och un vai as I should say, or even oy vai iz mir,
Though my pisk is lacking Yiddish, it's familiar to my ear.
And I'm no Chaim Yonkel, in fact I was shtick naches,
But, when it comes to Yiddish though, I'm talking out my tuchas.
Es iz a shandeh far di kinder that I don't know it better
(Though it's really nishtkefelecht when one needs to write a letter)
But, when it comes to characters, there's really no contention,
No other linguist can compete with honorable mentshen.
They have nebbishes and nebechels and others without mazel,
Then, too, schmendriks and schlemiels, and let's not forget schlimazel.
These words are so precise and descriptive to the listener,
So much better than "a pill" is to call someone 'farbissener.'
Or that a brazen woman would be better called chaleria,
And you'll agree farklempt says more than does hysteria.
I'm not haken dir a tsheinik and I hope I'm not a kvetch,
But isn't mieskeit kinder, than to call someone a wretch?
Mitten derinnen, I hear Bubbeh say, "It's nechtiker tog, don't fear,
To me you're still a maven, zol zein shah, don't fill my ear.
A leben ahf dein keppele, I don't mean to interrupt,
But you are speaking narishkeit.
And A gezunt auf dein kup!"