by Stephen Schecter (April 2019)
Portrait of Dr. Gachet, Vincent Van Gogh, 1880
Often have I heard people say
Youth is wasted on the young,
But now I too have reached the day
That wise phrase escapes my tongue.
Had I known then what I know now
I would not have chosen so,
Think then, I tell myself, think how
You will make the last years go.
And yet I fear the years ahead
May prove the same story told,
And I will think before I’m dead
Wisdom’s wasted on the old.
Detail of tapestry at Chagall State Hall, Marc Chagall
The no-people’s comeuppance
The night the Hebrews left the land
Had sent so many to their death,
The Lord announced the time had come
To send revenge upon His breath.
Past the doorposts, in sleep drenched beds
His angel waved a poisoned lung,
But against His promised Hebrews
No dog of Egypt whet his tongue.
Today they dwell upon the land
Yet still commit the sins of old,
Let idol-worshippers remain
To exercise their lethal hold.
Now lies that murder foul the land
The heathens claim belongs to them,
Though God has never authorized
This plagiary of British phlegm.
But if the Hebrews do not feel
The Jewish state is hallowed bread,
Upon them once again will fall
Discomfiture and Egypt’s dread.
As Moses foretold long ago
When his voice to the heavens rose,
How God would send a people false
To bring His project to a close.
But lest this no-people presume
Their wretched cause was wrapped in right,
Moses foretold for them as well
An end consumed in pitch and blight.
So shall the sheikhs of Araby
Be plunged into eternal dark,
And from Gaza to Ramallah
Not a dog shall be heard to bark.
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Stephen Schecter is a poet, writer and sociologist who specializes in telling stories from the Hebrew Bible. His work can be seen at www.shabbtai.com.
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