דונער מײַן ברודער — מלכּה חיפץ טוזמאַן

In honor of the Yiddish poet Malka Heifetz Tussman (1893–1987), who was born around Shavuos-time in Volhynia.

Here’s a rather topical poem of hers: “Duner mayn bruder” (Thunder My Brother), with an English translation by Benjamin and Barbara Harshav.

Thunder My Brother

Thunder my brother,
My powerful brother,
Stones rolling on stones — your voice.
Like a forest, forceful, your voice.
What pleasure you take
In making the mountains rattle,
How happy you feel
When you bewilder creeping creatures in the valley.

Once
Long ago
The storm — my father —
Rode on a dark cloud,
And stared at the other side
Of the Order-of-the-Universe,
Across to the chaos.
I, too, have a voice —
A voice of fearsome roaring
In the grip of the muteness.

And there are commandments
Forbidding me:
“Thou shalt not,
Thou shalt not”
O thunder,
My wild unbridled brother.

—translated by Benjamin and Barbara Harshav
Cover art: Nicholas Roerich, The Tablets of the Commandments, 1931