Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FAST OF TEBETH, by JOSEPH BEN SAMUEL BONFILS



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THE FAST OF TEBETH, by            
First Line: Lo! I recall the siege which fell on me
Last Line: "who saith: ""ye waves, but so far shall ye come."
Alternate Author Name(s): Tob Elem, Joseph Bar Samuel
Subject(s): Affliction; Jews; Sin; Judaism


LO! I recall the siege which fell on me:
Within this month He struck me; He destroyed
With three blows;—cut me down and left me void;—
Now He hath made me weary utterly.

He silenced on the eighth day all my throng;
(Have I not for three things a fast proclaimed?)
The King bade; write the law in Greek; they maimed,
They ploughed on me; they made their furrows long.

Upon the ninth day—wrath, disgrace, and shame!
Stripped off was my fair robe in honor worn;
For he who gave sweet words was surely torn:
Ezra the scribe—yea, he of blessed name.

The tenth day; then the seer was bidden: "Yea
Write thee within the book of vision; write
This for remembrance; now shalt thou indite
For them despised and crushed this self-same day."

Counting the months, within the tenth the woe
And wail he wakened; but the sorrow's smart—
Its onward way was branded on my heart
When one came saying: "The city is struck low."

For these things I have scattered o'er me dust;
O that a shaft had pierced mine heart that day!
For such woe I would dig my grave;—but nay,
I wrought rebelliously: the Lord is just.

I call Thee, Thou Who hast repentance nigh
For mine affliction; lo! my praying heed;
Hear my beseeching; my salvation speed;
Hide Thee not at my sighing, at my cry.

O moon of Tebeth! exceeding is my sum
Of pain therein, when His face changed for me.
Yet, though I sinned, His goodness I shall see,
Who saith: "Ye waves, but so far shall ye come."





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