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.
 
Twenty-one Years of Rescue Work
By Alice Lucas
 
SHAMED and degraded you call them—they!
  Flung in the nameless abysses, whose anguish defiles,
  Where grief is forbidden to weep, and agony forced into smiles.
Shamed and degraded, you say!
  O for a tongue of fire, for words like to scourging flame,        5
  Telling that theirs is the anguish, and ours, ours only, the shame.
 
Ours, or we shudder and turn aside,
  Holding our whiteness aloof from the stench and the stain,
  While t’wards those pestilent depths there passes a pitiful train,
Hunger and evil their guide,        10
  Innocent, ignorant, starving, thrust forth on the fatal track—
  Ours is the shame, for they perish, and we could have held them back!
 
Could—nay, we can, for behold the throng,
  Sad souls ready to perish, still passing the self-same way,
  Men and women of Israel, come to their aid this day,        15
Rise, let your hands be made strong!
  Souls, in God’s image created, maimed, prisoned and tortured see.
  God do so to us and more also, if we do not set them free!
 
 
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