February 22, 2023

In My Heart Burns a Fire

By Gordon Lockwood

Jeremiah Lockwood of Gordon Lockwood, Once Upon a Time the Fire Burned Brighter recording session

In My Heart Burns a Fire” is another one of Schaechter-Widman’s songs that chronicles the torments of a spurned lover who must keep her story secret from an uncomprehending family. I wrote a new contrasting melody for the third verse.


In My Heart Burns a Fire
by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman

In my heart burns a fire
But I don’t see any smoke around.
I thought you were an angel from the heavens
But in the end, you were my angel of death.

My parents keep asking me
Why I go around so downcast.
How can I describe my torments,
Since I fell in love with you.

Since I fell in love with you,
Every songbird in the world sang our melody.
Now the streets are in an uproar,
Since our love is no more.

Since our love is no more,
I cry and I cry.
Who can I call to stop my misery?
Only myself alone.

Lifshe Schaechter-Widman, New York, 1950s
Photograph from The Yiddish Song of the Week

אין מײַן האַרצן ברענט אַ פֿײַער

,אין מײַן האַרצן ברענט אַ פֿײַער
.נאָר מע זעט נישט קײן רוח אַרױס
איך האָב געמײנט ביסט אַ מלאך פֿון דעם הימל
.צום סוף ביסטו מײַן מלאך־המװת

,די עלטערן טוען מיך פֿרעגן
.װאָס איך גײ אַרום אַזױ באַטריבט
,װי קען איך זײ מײַן שמאַרץ דערצײלן
.אַז איך האָב מיך אין דיר פֿאַרליבט

,אַז איך האָב מיך אין דיר פֿאַררליבט
.האָט קײן שום פֿױגעל אױף דער װעלט נישט געװוּסט
,הײַנט איז אַ ראַש אין אַלע גאַסן
.אַז אונדזער ליבע איז אומזיסט

אַז די ליבע איז אומזיסט
.אונ ס׳גײט מיר אַזש און אַ געװײן
,בײַ װעמען בלײַבט דען די װײטיק
.אַז נישט בײַ מיר אַלײן


Jeremiah Lockwood is a scholar and musician working in the fields of Jewish studies, performance studies, and ethnomusicology. He is the founder of the band The Sway Machinery and is currently a Yale Institute of Sacred Music Fellow. His work engages with issues arising from peering into the archive and imagining the power of “lost” forms of expression to articulate keenly felt needs in the present.

Ricky Gordon is a drummer, percussionist, composer, actor, and social activist. He has performed and recorded with a host of musicians including Wynton Marsalis, Carolina Slim, Public Enemy, Hubert Sumlin, Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra, The Allman Brothers Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band, and The Fraternal Order of the Society Blues. Some of Gordon’s acting credits include HBO’s Treme and Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, Mo’ Better Blues, and School Daze. He recently worked on the Jon Batiste production American Symphony, which premiered at Carnegie Hall.