Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SEARCH FOR LEAVEN, by ALTER ABELSON



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THE SEARCH FOR LEAVEN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Like a tender, loving maiden
Last Line: Often dreaming on the broom.
Subject(s): Absence; Dreams; Jews; Separation; Isolation; Nightmares; Judaism


LIKE a tender, loving maiden
Dusting her devoted room
When her sweetheart she awaiteth,
Often dreaming on her broom.

So when stars beglamour heaven,
And the vesper-prayer's said,
On the eve before the Seder,
Father takes some feathers, bread,

Rag, and wooden spoon, and taper;
And he breaks the bread in seven,
And like the child with playthings, playing,
He naïvely searches leaven.

First he hides in nook the bread-crumbs,
Then like Jason on the quest
For the glorified golden fleeces,
To the search for leaven, addrest,

By the lighted mystic taper,
He like one a-dreaming prays;
God be blest for sanctifying
Man with leaven-searching ways.

Then he locks the lips in silence,
Like a Bismarck guarding tongue,
Lest the deep-laid scheme of statecraft,
By an ill-timed word go wrong.

And with gravest mien and broodings,
Ferrets out each hiding hole,
Where he laid the treasured bread-crumbs,
Sweeps them to their burning goal,

In the spoon, with tuft and feathers;
Seals it with the rag, and lays
All away until the morrow,
When, ere burning it, he prays:

"All the leaven of my dwelling,
All I saw or did not see,
All I did or didn't banish,
Void, as dust of earth shall be."

Then he muses on the Seder,
Like a maid who dusts her room
When her sweetheart she awaiteth,
Often dreaming on the broom.





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