Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
God and His Martyrs
By Chayim Nachman Byalik
FOR I have hither come, O ye dead bones,
To beg of you, forgive me!
Forgive your God, you that are shamed forever!
For all your dark and bitter lives forgive me,
And for your ten times dark and bitter death!        5
For when you stand to-morrow at my threshold,
When you remind me, when you ask for payment,
I shall but answer you: “Come, see, I’ve nothing!”
It cries to heaven, I hear it, but I’ve nothing.
For I am poor myself, I’m beggared also.        10
And woe and woe and woe is all my worlds!
Let all the seven heavens moan for pity.
To bring such sacrifices all, for nothing,
To live such lives and die such deaths for nothing,
Not knowing to what end, for what, for what!        15
Her head enwrapped in clouds, my old Shekinah
Shall sit for evermore and weep for shame;
And night by night I too will lean from heaven,
And mourn myself upon your graves.

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