Susan Cohen

Yiddish Cento*

It is always about bread and death. 
A person can forget everything but eating. 
Better an egg today than an ox tomorrow.
Better one friend with a dish of food than a hundred with a sigh. 

He who has not tasted the bitter does not understand the sweet.
All is not butter that comes from a cow.
Only in dreams are carrots as big as bears.
If you can’t endure the bad, you will not live to witness the good.

A man should stay alive if only out of curiosity.
He should laugh with the lizards.
Laughter is heard farther than weeping.
If you are fated to drown, you will drown in a spoonful of water.

Man begins in dust and ends in dust—
meanwhile, it’s good to drink some vodka. 
Enjoy life—you can always commit suicide later. 
If you’re going to eat pork, get it all over your beard. 

*all the lines in this poem are Yiddish sayings