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 Shoshanah
By George E. Chodowsky
 
I
A LILY lies broken and bare on a highway—
  Broken and bare and maimed;
And people from many a neighboring byway
  Carelessly pass her, shamed.
Come carelessly passing her, lying there broken,        5
  Lying mud-spattered and torn;
Of once glorious beauty now scarcely a token,
  She seems man and God-forlorn.
      In hope, though desponding,
      She lies unresponding        10
  To insults, to jibes, and to jeers;
      Herself bruised and battered,
      Her children wind-scattered—
  A mother bemoaning in tears.
 
II
Lightly the all-crushing Time-wheel rolls o’er her,
        15
  Leans lightly, and then rolls on;
Softly the all-burning sunbeams do lower
  Their fiercest rays for her, so wan;
Time lends his all-sheltering hand to her—bleeding—
  And soon does the sun heal each cut.        20
But men—Ah! the passing men—push her unheeding,
  From out of the refuge rut,
      “What dost thou, poor lily,
      On highways so hilly,
  So far from the land of thy birth?        25
      Thy hopes lead thee whither?
      How earnest thou hither—
  This hard-hearted, rock-bestrewn earth?”
 
III
“I once was the fairest and happiest flower,
  Proudest and haughtiest dame;        30
By the King’s own hands tended, in his royal bower—
  The Lily of Sharon, my name.
But the weeds they rose up in their envy to choke me,
  And brought me very low;
And cast on this highway, the passersby broke me,        35
  And filled my cup with woe.
      My house, it is Zion;
      My hope, Judah’s Lion;
  For a while he has left me in pain,
      Not for e’er to debase me,        40
      But soon to replace me
  In Zion to flourish again.”
 
 
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