Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
A Cry for Zion
By L. Smirnow
“BEHOLD, as I sit here, alone and forlorn,
Very often I wish I had never been born,
For of all of my travail, my sorrow and pain,
Oh, can ye, O nations, discover my gain?
Ye tread on my beard and ye spit in my face,        5
And ye clothe me in chains and the badge of disgrace.
And ye come and advise me to lose myself quite,
And assimilate with the dark shadows of night.
As well to exhort the Gulf Stream to be mixed
With the cold, icy ocean wherein it is fixed;        10
Or advise in the heavens the great Milky Way
To be lost in the stars that most everywhere lay.
“Oh, no! If true justice still lingers on earth
You will give me the home that was mine from my birth.
Return me the land where I battled and fought,        15
The land every inch of which dearly I bought,
Very dearly I bought with the blood of my veins,
Where I struggled for freedom and shatter’d my chains;
Where I strove with and conquer’d wild races of men,
Gog-Magog, the giants, I drove from their den;        20
Where I worshipped my God and expounded His law,
And where first the great light of His Wisdom I saw.
“In that land were my fathers for ages interred,
And the prophets and sages who lived by the Word,
There the graves of my martyrs abound on the plains,        25
And the roads are yet strewn with my children’s remains!
Every stone in that land is a tear from my eye,
In its mountains still lingers the breath of my sigh.
In its forests my wailing can yet be discerned,—
Lives a soul who would say thus: ‘I am not concerned?’        30
Then return me my country! If justice yet dwell
Here on earth, O return me, return my Beth-el!”

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