I must warn to tell


5 June 2006, 2.12 CET

by Miriam Ulinover (1888-1944)

All are drinking from Havdalah
So I drink a drop as well
Granny says, so fondly earnest,
“Kid-dear, I must warn to tell:

If a girl drinks from Havdalah
She will quickly grow a beard.
This stands written in the Writings,
On the bookshelves, there so near.”

Then I fall under a terror,
Then I touch, feel my chin’s tip,
Thanks to God! … still soft and girlish …
Oh! But sharp now, changed by fear.

Translated from the Yiddish by [the editor].

[An alternate translation by Kathryn Hellerstein.