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.
 
Sfere
By Morris Rosenfeld
 
I ASKED 1 my Muse had she any objection
  To laughing with me,—not a word for reply!
You see, it is Sfere, our time for dejection
  And can a Jew laugh when the rule is to cry?
 
You laughed then you say? ’tis a sound to affright one        5
  In Jewish delight, what is worthy the name?
The laugh of a Jew it is never a right one,
  For laughing and groaning with him are the same.
 
You thought there was zest in the Jewish existence?
  You deemed that the star of a Jew could be kind?        10
The spring calls and beckons with gracious insistence,
  Jew,—sit down in sackcloth and weep yourself blind!
 
The garden is green and the woodland rejoices;
  How cool are the breezes, with fragrance how blent;
But Spring calls not you with her thousand sweet voices;        15
  With you it is Sfere,—sit still and lament.
 
The beautiful summer, this life’s consolation,
  In moaning and sighing glides quickly away,
What hope can it offer to one of my nation?
  What joy can he find in the splendors of May?        20
 
Note 1. Sephira, a period of mourning commemorating the disasters to Israel during the Crusades. [back]
 
 
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