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A Song for Everyone

Lou Charloff
February 27, 2013

by Lou Charloff

For several days now I have been singing the same song over and over and over again. I love the song but I can’t seem to be able to stop. It is a very interesting song. I don’t believe that I have ever encountered a song as short as this one.

It has been translated into several languages. I believe that it was originally written in Yiddish; at least, that is the way I first heard it. A couple of years ago, I translated it into English, something that I imagined several hundred other people have done. A couple of weeks ago, I translated it again, this time into French.

Here are the three versions. Even combined, they would still be shorter than the lyrics of most songs.

Vu iz dos gesele?

Vu iz di shtib?

Vu iz dos meydele

Vemen ikh hob libe?

Ut iz dos gesele.

Ut iz di shtib.

Uber vu iz dos meydele

Vemen ikh hub libe?

Ou est la petite rue?

Ou est la maison?

Ou est la jeune fille

Qui j’adore?

Voici la petite rue.

Voici la maison.

Mais ou est la jeune fille

Qui j’adore?

Where is the little street,

The house that gave me board

Where is the sweet girl

Whom I once adored?

Here is the little street,

The house that gave me board.

But where is the sweet girl whom I once adored.

I don’t know. Maybe she got married and moved off to America. Maybe she got sick and died. Maybe the Nazis killed her. Maybe the Bolsheviks killed her. I don’t know.

When I was a little boy, I loved a girl named Hilda. Where is Hilda now? I don’t know.

When I was a young man, I loved a girl name Peggy. Where is Peggy now? I don’t know.

When I was an old man, I loved a woman named Michele. Where is Michele now? I don’t know.

It is a very interesting song.

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