Measuring the Graves

A poem by Morris Rosenfeld

First old Minna, bent and lowly,
Eyes with weeping nearly blind;
Pessyeh-Tsvaitel, slowly, slowly,
With the yarn creeps on behind.

On the holy book of Minna
Fall the tear-drops--scarce a word
(For the heart is moved within her)
Of her praying can be heard.

"Mighty Lord, whose sovereign pleasure
Made all worlds and men of dust,
I, Thy humble handmaid, measure,
God, the dwellings of the just.

"Speechless here the ground they cumber,
Where the pious, gracious God,
Where Thy heart's beloved slumber
Underneath the quiet sod.

"They who sing in jubilation,
Lord, before Thy holy seat,
Each one from his habitation,
Through the dream for ever sweet.

"From the yarn with which I measure,
Pessyeh-Tsvaitel, filled with awe,
Wicks will make, to search the treasure,
Nightly, of Thy holy Law.

Praying still, by faith sustained:
'Thou with whom the holy dwell,
Scorn not Jacob's prayer unfeigned,
Mark the tears of Israel!'"

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