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.
 
“Afar the reaches of our land one day”
By Harry Weiss
 
AFAR the reaches of our land one day,
  Grim tidings, visitants of grief confessed,
As wan the sun full orbed had died away
  In sky-slopes, crimson sheen caressed—
  “Our prince is gone among the blessed.”        5
 
Entwined the olive branch with cypress bough,
  Alternate tales of peace and woe shall tell
Unlanguaged glory of a man and how
  God’s angels kissed him ere he fell,
  And sealed his eyes in slumber’s spell.        10
 
Though Israel’s heart-chords wrung with anguished love,
  Now fain his peerless presence would reclaim;
Yet, free from weighing durance here; above
  To high emprise he still doth aim,
  Shrined Nestor dear of sainted name.        15
 
In legend heralded a school on high,
  With seraphs’ welcome waits our pilgrim guest;
There, world-famed patriarchs his footfall nigh
  Now echoing hear in halls of rest,
  His heart to theirs in love is prest.        20
 
Grief’s floodgates pour their unstemmed tide amain,
  Our prayers vying throng the stricken skies;
Oh, give us back your sunshine once again!
  Undimmed let flash once more your eyes!
  Our Father hears not, will not rise!        25
 
The flowers leagued have taken him away,
  Wee velvet violets and smilax fair;
They called him at the close of shadowed day,
  With amaranths to crown him where
  God’s garden greens for e’er and e’er.        30
 
Each day the nursling bud shall weep for him,
  Their beaded tears the lucent dew shall be;
When sleep-locked world is dawning ashen dim,
  Their fragrance benisons to thee
  Shall sweet ascend as off’rings free.        35
 
Come, brethren, Master would not have us grieve,
  For sacred joy he loved God’s labor due;
His mansion uninvaded let us leave,
  With zeal his mission work anew,
  Disciples, Israel’s saving dew!        40
 
Nepenthe mingles with the last farewell,
  Oft sunbeams braided are with threads of rain;
The aftermath of grief sweet hope doth tell—
  “We’ll meet again, we’ll meet again,
  In life that knows no parting pain.”        45
 
 
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