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.
 
A Cry from Russia
By Hermine Schwed
 
BROTHERS, my brothers—you that are free
In the golden lands, beyond the sea,
Are you blind that you do not heed the scars
Of my futile hands as they beat the bars?
Are you deaf that you do not heed the cry        5
Of the Little People who will not die?
Who will not die though with fear
Without their Ghetto walls. Ah, hear
The anguished cry of the mother of sons
Who are spat on thus by the lordly ones:        10
  “Ye may not labor. Ye have no goal.
Back to your hovels! Herd as the swine!
Be eaten with fear to your very soul!”
This is the birth of the coward’s whine.
Brothers, my brothers, the days are long        15
For the wretched one who does no wrong,
But to live through beggary, misery—aye
Worse than these—a Jew till he die.
For he sucked, with the milk at his mother’s breast,
Patient for scorn and patient for jest,        20
Wounds of the body and wounds of the soul
Till a day when the Lord God made him whole
The shining day he will bless the pain
That has brought the Jew to his own again.
He will bless the pain. But brothers mine        25
Easy for you not to herd as swine;
Prosperous, florishing—kith and kin,
Easy for you to stay clean within.
But, O my Brothers beyond the sea,
The days are long and bitter for me.        30
 
 
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