Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
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Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
 
Is It True?
By Marie Harrold Garrison
 
SAID the child of the bright yellow hair
  To the child of the coal black curls;
“I do not think it is fair
  For we little Christian girls
To play with the girls like you;        5
  For our Sunday-school teacher—See?
Says your father is only a Jew;
 
  An’ the Jews nailed Christ on the tree.”
The great black eyes filled with tears
  As the child with the dark, dark hair        10
Said: “But that was hundreds of years
  Ago; an” I don’t think it is fair
To blame us girls with the pain
  That was given to Jesus by men
That we didn’t know. And it’s vain—        15
  So my mamma says, to preten’
That any one church is the best.
  We’re as nicely behaved as you,
An’ our dollies as prettily dressed;
  An’ my mamma always says true.”        20
 
So they quarreled and parted with eyes
  Flashing anger and tears. In the heart
Of the yellow-haired child would rise
  Unbidden—a pain like a dart.
 
That night she knelt by her bed—        25
  As she did every night—to pray,
She threw back her wee bright head
  And her eyes looked up and away—
Oh far, far away at the sky
  Through the unshaded window glass;        30
And she said: “Dear Lord, if I die
  In my sleep may my spirit pass
To you like an angel; and wear
  A little gold crown of my own;
And—my dear doll—I want her there,        35
  ’Cause I hate to be there all alone.”
 
Then she paused a little and said:
  “Lord—if Elsie was only like me,
A Christian, too, when she’s dead
  I think I would like to see        40
Her also; but she cannot go
  ’Cause her fore-fathers—teacher said—
Were nothing but Jews and so
  That settles it.” Then on the bed
The bright little one sank to sleep,        45
  But a wee small voice in her breast
Seemed ever to rouse her and keep
  Her feverish pulses from rest.
 
She dreamed that out of the skies
  A great, white cross rose to view;        50
And Jesus looked at her with eyes
  Like Elsie’s—and said: “I’m a Jew.”
 
 
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