Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HEBREWS, by JAMES OPPENHEIM



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HEBREWS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I come of a mighty race - I come of a very mighty race
Last Line: Is a well in asia.
Subject(s): Jesus Christ; Wandering Jew


I come of a mighty race -- I come of a very mighty race --
Adam was a mighty man, and Noah a captain of the
moving waters,
Moses was a stern and splendid king, yea, so was Moses.
Give me more songs like David's to shake my throat to
the pit of the belly,
And let me roll in the Isaiah thunder.
Ho! the mightiest of our young men was born under a
star in midwinter.
His name is written on the sun and it is frosted
on the moon --
Earth breathes him like an eternal spring: he is a
second sky over the earth.

Mighty race! mighty race! -- my flesh, my flesh
Is a cup of song,
Is a well in Asia.
I go about with a dark heart where the ages sit in a
divine thunder --
My blood is cymbal-clashed and the anklets of the
dancers tinkle there.
Harp and psaltery, harp and psaltery make drunk my spirit --
I am of the terrible people, I am of the strange Hebrews --
Among the swarms fixed like the rooted stars, my folk
is a streaming comet,
The Wanderer of Eternity, the eternal Wandering Jew.

Ho! we have turned against the mightiest of our young men
And in that denial we have taken on the Christ,
And the two thieves beside the Christ,
And the Magdalen at the feet of the Christ,
And the Judas with thirty silver pieces selling the Christ
And our twenty centuries in Europe have the shape of a Cross
On which we have hung in disaster and glory.

Mighty race! mighty race! -- my flesh, my flesh
Is a cup of song,
Is a well in Asia.





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