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. 

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 dear departed 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. Isn't that enough for you?

A couple points on the translation itself: A major source of frustration for all translators of this poem including yours truly has been the semantic range of the poem's most crucial word בלײַבן blaybn. Options exploited by translators include "to last", "to stay (behind)", "to endure", "to abide" and "to remain." While the closest semantic match in English would probably not be a single word so much as a whole phrase like "to still be there," I opted for "to remain" for a number of reasons - all of which boiled down to the fact that using a single verb made for a more effective poem overall. 
Another point worth mentioning (and one whose neglect in other translations annoyed me) is the word טראַף traf which I render with "word's chance" (after talking myself out of the self-indulgent "wordstroke.") Traf really means "syllable" here, but it can also be used in the sense of "chance, occurrence, luck, stroke." (E.g. oyf traf means "at random", gliklikher traf means "stroke of luck," trafgezets is "law of chance", a trafgevinung would be a victory obtained by sheer dumb luck...etc.) The poem is untitled in the original, but I have taken the deliberate liberty of giving it a title in English which suggested itself to me. 

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,
בראשיתדיק 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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