Texts & Translation

אַ קוש

A Kiss

Celia Dropkin

Translation by Faith Jones, Anita Norich and David Mazower


Celia Drop­kin (18871956) was an Amer­i­can poet best known for her erot­ic and embod­ied verse, a fact that tends to obscure con­sid­er­a­tion of her mer­it as a seri­ous poet with a wide range of influ­ences from world lit­er­a­ture. Her ear­ly romance with the Hebrew-lan­guage nov­el­ist Uri Gnessin is ref­er­enced in the item below. She wrote this poem for Gnessin in Russ­ian; he trans­lat­ed and trans­formed the poem into Hebrew, insert­ing it in his nov­el Etsel (Along­side), pub­lished short­ly before his ear­ly death in 1913. For decades, most crit­i­cal works on Yid­dish and Hebrew lit­er­ary his­to­ry described Drop­kin as not know­ing about the theft of this poem until much lat­er, and being unboth­ered by its dis­cov­ery. As the author’s note below shows, this was not the case.

This piece appeared in Di naye velt, 12 April 1913, p.8. It was trans­lat­ed by Faith Jones with Ani­ta Norich and David Mazower.

Fur­ther Reading:

On Celia Drop­kin
Celia Drop­kin: Books in Yid­dish
Celia Drop­kin: Books in Eng­lish
Desires by Celia Drop­kin, trans­lat­ed by Ani­ta Norich (White Goat Press, forthcoming)

A Kiss*

I will meet him with flowers
When he comes to my city
My face in tranquility
As I hand him the flowers
But should he stay at night in my house
I will creep to him like a mouse
Whether dreams cradle him
Whether they torture him
I will have him, there at his rest
Pull off his covers, kiss his chest
Thirstily drink down his blood
And feel so suddenly light and good
My sickly, my lonely love thirsts for his blood

*The late U. Gnessin translated this poem into Hebrew and published it in one of his novels without my permission. C.D.

Dropkin, Celia. “A Kiss.” In geveb, November 2023: Trans. Faith Jones, Anita Norich, and David Mazower. https://ingeveb.org/texts-and-translations/a-kiss.
Dropkin, Celia. “A Kiss.” Translated by Faith Jones, Anita Norich, and David Mazower. In geveb (November 2023): Accessed Jun 24, 2024.


Celia Dropkin


Faith Jones

Faith Jones is a librarian and translator in Vancouver, Canada.

Anita Norich

Anita Norich is Tikva Frymer-Kensky Collegiate Professor Emerita of English and Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan.

David Mazower

David Mazower is chief curator and writer of Yiddish: A Global Culture, the major new permanent exhibition at the Yiddish Book Center, where he is Research Bibliographer and Editorial Director.