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 Mezuzah
By Alter Abelson
 
THE CERBERUS breakers that brawl and that cry,
The sun and the sky with their Raphael eye,
The skylarks that soar and the serpents that creep,
The lilies that love and the willows that weep,
The grandeurs of heaven, the glamours of earth,        5
In Thy outdoors, O God, they are singing Thy worth.
And love and its wonder, the mother and child,
The lullabies sweet, and the elegies wild,
The sanctuary, Home, the spirit-realm’s pole,
The Eden unlost, and the shrine of the soul,        10
In Thy indoors, O God, in the hearth we revere,
In its tears, in its triumphs, Thy splendors appear.
But leaving to heaven, the sun and the star,
When we grope on the threshold and wait for the bar
To slip, and the door of the home to unfold,        15
And see not the rising or sunsetting gold,
While we grope on the threshold expectant and tense,
All silent with fearful and hopeful suspense,
Dumb lintel above us, blind doorstep, before,
The heart, it is neither on ocean or shore,        20
What hint to the soul of the Master, what gleam,
What clue to His labyrinth’s coil of dream?
It is the Mezuzah, the doorpost uplifts,
Enwrit with Thy statutes, Thy name and Thy gifts;
Coat of Arms of the knighthood of God, like a spell,        25
The Mezuzah holds sentry where Israelites dwell.
What heavenly romance, its blazonings seal,
What lists, and what Galahads that harm not but heal.
What Unity linking the shadow and sun,
Till shadow and sunshine one glory have spun;        30
And it isn’t the parchment, the scroll or the case,
It’s the charm of the Shaddai it bears on its face,
And the mystical Shema inscribed in the scroll,
We caress and we kiss. We are kissing its soul
In crossing the threshold; O hearken, we pray,        35
“Heaven keep our going and coming each day.”
And they tell, Belial, the demon of vice,
In touching the threshold, must cease to entice.
For the doorstep’s enchanted, the Mezuzah has charm
To keep from the threshold the harpies that harm.        40
The Mezuzah’s the soul of the threshold, behold,
It touched with enchantment and mystical gold,
The portal: The threshold with witchcraft is shod,
On the threshold and doorpost, we also see God!
 
 
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