top of page

Schmears on Sissel Rye


I started up on Houston Street

Selling herring from a barrel

And every fish was a duty paid

To the steamships and the sea

How many months? How many years?

The barrel became a wagon

The linen girls come running

When you rattle down the street


Sable, sturgeon, carp and mackerel

Chub and gefilte pike

Almond covered halva bars

Schmears on sissel rye


I worked the canopies of Ludlow Street

The headlong hunt for wealth

I fed the firemen when the Shirtwaist burnt

And all those people died

Opened the store on Orchard Street

Staffed it with my daughters

Arithmetic became our guide

We measure, we cut, we dry


Every morning when the sun comes up

We lay out our appetizers

Off the street and out of the cold

Come sample the merchandise


These are the things we fear the most

The sweater’s knife and the dark stairs

The tailors and the hucksters

Everybody knows my cry


Sable, sturgeon, carp and mackerel

Chub and gefilte pike

Belly lox and blintzes

Come near, come try, come buy

Pumpernickel, bread or bagel

Invite you to take a bite                   

Almond covered halva bars

California pistachios

Charoset and matzo balls

Schmears on sissel rye


© MarkGSongs 2023

bottom of page