Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
By Abraham Raisin (Trans. Henry Greenfield)
Cui Bono?
(Monologue of a Talmudical student.)

WHAT’S the meaning of the rainstorm?
What’s the story that it tells me?
On the window panes the rain-drops
Roll, a turbid stream of tears.
And the boots are worn and tearing,        5
And without ’tis muddy, stormy;
Winter, too, will soon be coming
And I have no wrap to warm me.
What’s the meaning of the taper?
What’s the story that it tells me?        10
The tallow downward drips and trickles,
Faintly flaring, dying slowly.
Like a taper weak and weary,
’Lone within this hut I wither,
Till some day in sullen quiet,        15
Dying they will bear me thither.
What’s the meaning of the old clock?
What’s the story that it tells me?
Its dial quaint and faded yellow,
Each weird stroke resounding heavy.        20
’Tis a lifeless, soulless object,
Merely striking at each hour,
Lacking spirit, lacking feeling,
Slave to another’s will and power.
What’s the meaning of my being?        25
What’s the story that it tells me?
Days of youth are vegetating
Waxing old so prematurely.
Days of fast and tears a’plenty,
Bony knuckles for a pillow,        30
Sacrificing all life’s pleasures
For a life that is to follow.

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