Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
On the Massacre
By Chayim Nachman Byalik
YE heavens, pray for mercy on my head!
  If God abides in you, and if a way
To Him exists, which yet I have not found,
  Do you my prayers unto His ear convey!
For me, my heart is dead, and no more prayers        5
  Are on my lips, for refuge against wrong.
My strength is gone, and there is no more hope.
  How long must we endure, how long, how long?
Headsman, here is an axe, arise and slay!
  Behead me like a dog; so let it be!        10
You have an arm, an instrument of death,
  And all the world a scaffold is to me.
Then let red blood, the blood of old and young,
  Besprinkle your red coat with ruddy gore,
So that the savage and ensanguined stain        15
  Shall not be wiped from it forevermore.
Cursed be he who for revenge cries out!
  For slaying guileless babes a vengeance meet
Satan himself has never yet devised.
  Then let our blood, poured out beneath your feet,        20
Sink penetrating to earth’s lowest depths;
  Let blood of those who perished without blame
Sap and destroy the earth’s foundations old—
  The bases deep of wickedness and shame.

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