Yiddish Transliteration

Unter dayne vayse shtern
Shtrek tsu mir dayn vayse hant.
Mayne verter zaynen trern
Viln ruen in dayn hant.

Ze, es tunklt zeyer finkl
In mayn kelerdikn blik.
Un ikh hob gornit keyn vinkl
Zey tsu shenken dir tsurik.

Un ikh vil dokh, got getrayer
Dir fartroyen mayn farmeg.
Vayl es mont in mir a fayer
Un in fayer-mayne teg.

Nor in kelern un lekher
Veynt di merderishe ru.
Loyf ikh hekher, ibqer dekher
Un ikh zukh: vu bistu, vu?

Nemen yogn mikh meshune
Trep un hoyfin mit gevoy.
Heng ikh a geplaste strune
Un ikh zing tsu dir azoy:

Unter dayne vayse shtern
Shtrek tsu mir dayn vayse hant.
Mayne verter zaynen trern
Viln ruen in dayn hant.

(From Mudcat Digital Traditional archive)

English Translation

Under Your white stars
Stretch to me Your white hand.
My words are tears,
Wanting to rest in Your hand.

See, they twinkle very darkly
In my cellar-beaten view;
And I have no place
How to send them back to You.

And I will, dear God,
Confide in you these of mine
While in me a fire grows
And on fire are my days.

But in cellars and holes
Cries the murderous quiet
I fly higher, over rooftops
And I search: Where are You? Where?

Something strange hunts me
Stairs and courtyards are on chase
I hang as a broken bow-string
And I sing to You this way:

Under Your white stars
Stretch to me Your white hand.
My words are tears,
Wanting to rest in Your hand.

(From Mudcat Digital Traditional archive)

One of the most beautiful songs to have come out of the Vilna ghetto, 'Unter dayne vayse shtern' (Under your white stars) was written by the poet Avraham Sutzkever and set to music by Avrom Brudno. Directly addressing God, the poem's speaker expresses the agony of his situation and calls out for help and acknowledgement.

Unter Dayne Vayse Shtern from Mark Zuckerman Yiddish Choral. Series available at SheetmusicPlus.com