Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MIRACULOUS OIL, by CAROLINE DEUTSCH

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THE MIRACULOUS OIL, by            
First Line: Little cruet in the temple
Last Line: Through the centuries of darkest night!
Subject(s): Israel; Jews; Light; Temples; Judaism; Mosques

LITTLE cruet in the Temple
That dost feed the sacrificial flame,
What a true expressive symbol
Art thou of my race, of Israel's fame!
Thou for days the oil didst furnish
To illume the Temple won from foe—
So for centuries in my people
Spirit of resistance ne'er burnt low.
It was cast from home and country,
Gloom and sorrow were its daily lot;
Yet the torch of faith gleamed steady,
Courage, like thy oil, forsook it not.
Mocks and jeers were all its portion,
Death assailed it in ten thousand forms—
Yet this people never faltered,
Hope, its beacon, led it through all storms.
Poorer than dumb, driven cattle,
It went forth enslaved from its estate,
All its footsore wand'rings lighted
By its consciousness of worth innate.
Luckless fortunes could not bend it;
Unjust laws increased its wondrous faith;
From its heart, exhaustless streaming,
Freedom's light shone on its thorny path.
Oil that burnt in olden Temple,
Eight days only didst thou give forth light!
Oil of faith sustained this people
Through the centuries of darkest night!

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