Song

Your Kitten is Hungry

Original Title: Hungerik dayn ketsele

Mordecai Gebirtig, born in 1877 in Krakow, Poland, was a Yiddish folk poet and songwriter. Gebirtig had three daughters, for whom he wrote and performed his poems. The words were set to improvised melodies, and most of his songs resemble entries in a diary. Many of Gebirtig's poems contain themes of eastern European Jewish life in the 1920s and 1930s. The lullaby "Your Kitten is Hungry" dates from the early 1920s. The lyrics, addressed to a hungry child, evoke the themes of hunger and deprivation.

Sleep now, my hungry little girl,
Close tight your dear little eyes,
Your mother also is hungry,
But she doesn't cry or make noise.
Learn something, child, from your mother dear,
Try to look on the bright side --
When you awake in the morning,
The house will be full of fresh bread.
Ay lyu lyu, ay lyu lyu lyu,
So, sleep now, my precious, my crown.

Sleep now, my dear silly little girl,
What is it with you today?
Your kitten also is hungry,
But I don't hear it complain.
Hear how it's meowing -- it's telling you:
"Child, give your mother some peace!"
Your kitten also is hungry,
But it doesn't cry like you do.
Ay lyu lyu, ay lyu lyu lyu,
So, sleep now, my precious, my crown.

Sleep now, my poor darling little girl,
For slumber will soften your need.
Your little doll also is hungry,
But she doesn't cry out for bread.
Learn something, child, from your little doll,
Do you know what she's thinking just now?
"Oh, how it weighs on a mother's heart
When hungry is her dear child."
Ay lyu lyu, ay lyu lyu lyu,
So, sleep now, my precious, my crown.