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Poetry and Song

Ale Brider

Full image
"Ale Brider (We Are All Brothers)," on A Besere Velt (A Better World). Performed by The Yiddish Community Chorus of Boston Workmen's Circle. Words and Music by Morris Winchevsky. Arr. Lisa Gallatin.

All Brothers

 

And we are all brothers,

Oh, oh, all brothers,

And we sing happy songs, oh, oh, oh,

And we stick together, oh, oh, together,

Like no one else, oh, oh, oh.

 

[Chorus] La la la la…

All together, brothers and sisters, all.

 

And we are all sisters, oh, oh, all sisters,

Like Sara, Rebecca, Ruth and Esther, oh.

And we are all united, oh, oh, all united,

Whether we are many or few, oh, oh, oh.

[Chorus]

 

Ale Brider

 

Un mir zaynen ale brider, oy, oy, ale brider,

Un mir zingen freylekhe lider, oy, oy, oy.

Un mir haltn zikh in eynem,

Oy, oy, zikh in eynem,

Azelkhes iz nito bay keynem, oy, oy, oy.

 

[Chorus] Day day day day…

Ale tsuzamen, brider un shvester, ale.

 

Un mir zaynen ale shvester, oy oy, ale shvester,

Vi Sore, Riveke, Rut un Ester, oy, oy, oy.

Un mir zaynen alel eynik, oy, oy, ale eynik,

Tzi mir zaynen fil tsi veynik, oy, oy, oy.

[Chorus]

Details
"Ale Brider (We Are All Brothers)," Words by Morris Winchevsky, Translation Compiled by Willie Lockeretz and Linda Gritz, on A Besere Velt (A Better World), The Yiddish Community Chorus of Boston Workmen's Circle.

Discussion Questions for "Ale Brider"

  1. What is the central message of this song?
  2. How does the sound, as opposed to the words, deliver this message?
  3. When do you think a song like this might have been sung?

Mayn Rue Plats

Full image
"Mayn Rue Platz (My Resting Place)," on A Besere Velt (A Better World). Performed by The Yiddish Community Chorus of Boston Workmen's Circle. Words and Music by Morris Rosenfeld. Arr. By Mark Zuckerman. Adapted by Lisa Gallatin.

My Resting Place

 

Don’t look for me where myrtles grow,

You will not find me there, my beloved.

Where lives wither at the machines,

There is my resting place.

 

Don’t look for me where birds sing,

You will not find me there, my beloved.

A slave am I, where chains clang.

There is my resting place.

 

And if you love me with true love,

Then came to me, my good beloved,

And light up my gloomy heart,

And make sweet my resting place.

 

Mayn Rue Plats

 

Nit zukh mikh vu di mirtn grinen,

Gefinst mikh dortn nit, mayn shats.

Vu lebns velkn bay mashinen,

Dortn iz mayn rue plats.

 

Nit zukh mikh vu di feygl zingen,

Gefinst mikh dortn nit, mayn shats.

A shklaf bin ikh, vu keytn klingen,

Dortn iz mayn rue plats.

 

Un libstu mikh mit varer libe,

To kum tzu mir, mayn guter shats.

Un hayter oyf mayn harts, dos tribe,

Un makh mir zis mayn rue plats.

Details
"Mayn Rue Plats (My Resting Place)," Words by Morris Rosenfeld, Translation Compiled by Willie Lockeretz and Linda Gritz, on A Besere Velt (A Better World), The Yiddish Community Chorus of Boston Workmen's Circle.

Discussion Questions for "Mayn Rue Plats"

  1. How does the message of this song compare with that of Ale Brider?
  2. Why do you think the song’s sound is so sad?

Discussion Questions Comparing the Songs

  1. How might each of these songs speak to one’s experience as a worker?
  2. How might these two songs contribute to a worker’s feeling part of a larger, collective experience?

Context

The following lyrics are to the song “Bread and Roses.” The words were written by James Oppenheim and originally published in The American Magazine in December, 1911. Oppenheim’s poem was set to music by singer-songwriter Mimi Farina in 1974 and has been recorded by many artists since then.


 

"Bread and Roses" poem

 

As we go marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,

A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,

Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,

For the people hear us singing: Bread and Roses! Bread and Roses!

As we go marching, marching, we battle too for men,

For they are women's children, and we mother them again.

Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;

Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.

As we go marching, marching, unnumbered women dead

Go crying through our singing their ancient call for bread.

Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.

Yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too.

As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days,

The rising of the women means the rising of the race.

No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,

But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and roses, bread and roses.

Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;

Hearts starve as well as bodies; bread and roses, bread and roses.

Details
James Oppenheim, "Bread and Roses," The American Magazine, December, 1911.

Discussion Questions for "Bread and Roses"

  1. What does “Bread and Roses” mean in Oppenheim’s poem?
  2. What does “the rising of the women means the rising of the race” mean? 
  3. Why might women have been particularly drawn to this term, “bread and roses”?

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Poetry and Song." (Viewed on October 23, 2014) <http://jwa.org/node/15011/lightbox2>.

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