17.02, Wednesday 3 Sep 2008

In the Sweat-Shop: I ran across this excerpt in Heim's biography of John von Neumann and Norbert Wiener. It's the first stanza "In the Sweat-Shop," from Leo Wiener's translation of the Yiddish poems of Morris Rosenfeld.

The machines in the shop roar so wildly that
often I forget in the roar that I am; I am
lost in the terrible tumult, my ego disappears, I
am a machine. I work, and work, and work with-
out end; I am busy, and busy, and busy at all time.
For what? and for whom? I know not, I ask not!
How should a machine ever come to think?

It reminds me how the processes that surround us drown and re-cut us.

The collection is online: Songs from the ghetto (1898).