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.
 
The Search for Leaven
By Alter Abelson
 
LIKE a tender, loving maiden
  Dusting her devoted room
When her sweetheart she awaiteth,
  Often dreaming on her broom.
 
So when stars beglamour heaven,        5
  And the vesper-prayer’s said,
On the eve before the Seder,
  Father takes some feathers, bread,
 
Rag, and wooden spoon, and taper;
  And he breaks the bread in seven,        10
And like the child with playthings, playing,
  He naïvely searches leaven.
 
First he hides in nook the bread-crumbs,
  Then like Jason on the quest
For the glorified golden fleeces,        15
  To the search for leaven, addrest,
 
By the lighted mystic taper,
  He like one a-dreaming prays;
God be blest for sanctifying
  Man with leaven-searching ways.        20
 
Then he locks the lips in silence,
  Like a Bismarck guarding tongue,
Lest the deep-laid scheme of statecraft,
  By an ill-timed word go wrong.
 
And with gravest mien and broodings,        25
  Ferrets out each hiding hole,
Where he laid the treasured bread-crumbs,
  Sweeps them to their burning goal,
 
In the spoon, with tuft and feathers;
  Seals it with the rag, and lays        30
All away until the morrow,
  When, ere burning it, he prays:
 
“All the leaven of my dwelling,
  All I saw or did not see,
All I did or didn’t banish,        35
  Void, as dust of earth shall be.”
 
Then he muses on the Seder,
  Like a maid who dusts her room
When her sweetheart she awaiteth,
  Often dreaming on the broom.        40
 
 
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