Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
The Wailing Place in Jerusalem
By Louis Federleicht
WITH heads bowed down, they stand with streaming eyes,
  Before the ruined wall, whose grimy stones
Are crumbling with the weight of centuries,
  And read their Mincha-prayer in mournful tones
That spring from hearts that grieve for Judah’s fate,        5
  For Jacob’s seed whose loving memories dwell
On splendors past, and, kneeling, supplicate
  That mercy may be shown to Israel.
Their garb proclaims them men of many lands.
  Those dwell amid the northern snows, and these        10
Have wandered far from Yemen’s burning sands,
  Or sought their way across the western seas.
Not here alone do wailing figures stand!
  Not here alone do tears of sorrow flow!
In every clime they beat, with clenched hand,        15
  Against the stones of Israel’s wall of woe.
In every land there rises, stern and great,
  This self-same wail of torment and of fears,
Its courses laid with stones of scorn and hate,
  And bonded with cement of blood and tears.        20
But Judah should behold that brighter day,
  For which these kneeling pilgrims humbly plead,
And like a star, on Zion’s bosom lay
  Her beautiful and shining golden head.
Her tattered robes shall turn to silken sheen,        25
  Her shackles shall give way to golden chains,
As from her temple-heights she views, serene,
  The flowers of peace that bloom in her domains.
Where Hermon’s snows shine down on Lebanon,
  Where Judah breaks the Dead Sea’s sullen peace,        30
Where rise the ruined towers of Ascalon,
  Or Carmel’s vines look on the midland seas.

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