Abraham Sutzkever: "Who will remain..." (From Yiddish)

This is one of Abraham Sutzkever's best-known, most widely-quoted and heavily translated poems. The wide currency is well-earned. It is a poignant reaction to the catastrophic loss, at multiple levels, that befell Ashkenazi civilization in the 20th century (though its relevance is of course not limited to the circumstances of its creation.) 
A question I sometimes get asked when I translate a poem which, like this one, been translated competently already numerous times is: why do my own version of this over-englished poem? Aren't there less over-exposed texts to work on? Answer: Probably for the same reason actors still perform Shakespeare's plays on screen and on stage despite the profusion of available predecessors, the same reason musicians still perform symphonies written hundreds of years earlier which have already been performed and recorded hundreds of times. To do it my way. 

Last
By Abraham Sutzkever
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
Click to hear me recite the original Yiddish

Who will remain? What will remain? There will remain a wind.
There will remain the blindness of the disappearing blind.
There will remain a single thread of foam: sign of the sea
There will remain a little hank of cloud caught on a tree.

Who will remain? What will remain? A word's chance will remain
Prime mover cultivating grass of Genesis again.
There will remain, in honor of itself alone, a rose
Understood by seven blades of all the grass that grows.

More than all the stars in the expanse from north to here
There will remain the star that's fallen in a simple tear.
A drop of wine will always be there in the pitcher too.
Who will remain? God will remain. Is that enough for you?

The Original:


װער װעט בלײַבן? װאָס װעט בלײַבן? בלײַבן װעט אַ װינט,
בלײַבן װעט די בלינדקײט פֿונעם בלינדן, װאָס פֿאַרשװינדט.
בלײַבן װעט אַ סימן פֿונעם ים: אַ שנירל שוים,
בלײַבן װעט אַ װאָלקנדל פֿאַרטשעפּעט אויף אַ בוים.

װער װעט בלײַבן? װאָס װעט בלײַבן? בלײַבן װעט אַ טראַף,
בראשיתֿדיק אַרויסצוגראָזן װידער זײַן באַשאַף.
בלײַבן װעט אַ פֿידלרויז לכּבֿוד זיך אַלײן,
זיבן גראָזן פֿון די גראָזן װעלן זיך פֿאַרשטײן.

מער פֿון אַלע שטערן אַזש פֿון צפֿון ביז אַהער,
בלײַבן װעט דער שטערן, װאָס ער פֿאַלט אין סאַמע טרער.
שטענדיק װעט אַ טראָפּן װײַן בלײַבן אין זײַן קרוג.
װער װעט בלײַבן? גאָט װעט בלײַבן, איז דיר ניט גענוג?

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