From Jerusalem the Golden (1934)
In the street I have just left
the small leaves of the trees along the gutter
in the blue heavens.
picks up speed
and a wind
blows through the car,
on the passengers,
and along the floor
bits of paper——
wrappers of candy,
of gum, tinfoil,
pieces of newspaper ....
Going to work in the subway
this bright May morning
you have put on red slippers;
do they dance behind the counters
in the store, or about the machines
in the shop where you work?
Rails in the subway,
what did you know of happiness,
when you were ore in the earth;
now the electric lights shine upon you.
Walk about the subway station
in a grove of steel pillars;
how their knobs, the rivet-heads——
unlike those of oaks——
are regularly placed;
how barren the ground is
except here and there on the platform
a flat black fungus
that was chewing-gum.
19 - For an Inscription over the Entrance to a Subway Station
This is the gift of Hephaestus, the artificer,
the god men say is lame.
What are you doing in our street among the automobiles,
How are your cousins, the centaur and the unicorn?
Rooted among roofs, their smoke among the clouds,
factory chimneys——our cedars of Lebanon.
41 - Suburb
If a naturalist came to this hillside,
he'd find many old newspapers among the weeds
Permit me to warn you
against this automobile rushing to embrace you
with outstretched fender.
From the middle of the pool
in the concrete pavement a fountain
in neat jets; the wind scatters it
upon the water. The untidy trees
drop their leaves upon the pavement.
Now that black ground and bushes——
each twig and limb——are suddenly white with snow,
and earth becomes brighter than the sky,
that intricate shrub
of nerves, veins, arteries——
its knotted leaves
to the shining air.
Upon this wooded hillside,
pied with snow, I hear
only the melting snow
drop from the twigs.
74 - The English in Virginia, April 1607
[Based upon the Works of Captain John Smith,
edited by Edward Arber.]
They landed and could
see nothing but
meadows and tall
cypress, nearly three
fathoms about at the
rising straight for
sixty or eighty feet
without a branch.
In the woods were
cedars, oaks, and
some beech, some elm,
black walnut, ash,
and sassafras; mul-
berry trees in
other vines hanging
in clusters on
They stepped on
violets and other
many kinds in many
berries and rasp-
berries were on
Blackbirds with red
and many small birds,
some red, some blue;
the woods were full of deer;
springs and creeks.
In the twilight,
through the thickets
and tall grass,
creeping upon all
bows in their
75 - Jeremiah in the Stocks
An Arrangement of the Prophecies
Jeremiah, in the stocks in the gate of Benjamin, cried to the
princes of Judah, I have been born a man of quarrels——O
that I had a lodging-place in the wilderness that I might go
from my people! I sat alone because of the Lord; I found his
word and did eat it——it was to me joy and rejoicing. But I
was derided, all were sided against me, since I cried out——
cried violence and spoil! Then I said, I will not mention Him
any more, but bore His word like a fire shut up in my bones
——and could not keep still.
Then Pash-nut, the chief officer in the Lord's house, who had
placed Jeremiah in the stocks, faced the princes of Judah
sitting in the gate, and cried, This man should die because
he has lied and prophesied against this city, and has pro-
phesied in the name of the Lord for the house of the Lord
the same end as Shiloh's! and, pushing aside those in the
muck about the stocks, struck Jeremiah.
And one of the princes said, Jeremiah, you Benjaminite, even
your brothers, the priests in Anatoth, have said to you, Do
not prophesy or you die by our hands; what then do you
look for at the hands of others? If you have raced with the
footmen and they outpaced you, how will you run beside
horses? And if in the land of your dwelling in which you
trusted——what will you do in the swelling of Jordan? And at
this Pash-hur began to cry, This man should die! He must
One of the elders that stood beside the princes said, Micah
prophesied in the days of King Hezekiah and spoke to all
Judah, The pride of Zion shall be plowed like a field and
proud Jerusalem become heaps. Did the king put him to
death? King Hezekiah weeps, hears the Lord and fears the
Lord and does justice before the Lord——until the Lord
repented of what he was to do against Judah. Jeremiah shall
not be given to the people to be put to death! And all the
elders began to cry, He shall not die!
Pash-hut answered them, Uriah who prophesied against this
city and against this land, according to all that Jeremiah had
said, when he heard that the king was about to put him to
the sword and fled into Egypt, did not the king send a band
even into Egypt who brought out Uriah to his death? And is
Jeremiah himself to live? The man must die!
And Jeremiah said, Blow the trumpets throughout the land,
gather together, go into the walled cities, set up the stan-
dards; for the Lord has sent a fierce nation, a scowling
people, against you——lament and howl! The king and the
princes are afraid, the heart of the king shall sink and the
hearts of the princes, the priests and prophets are dismayed
because of the fierce anger of the Lord. Run through the
streets of Jerusalem, search in its broad places for a just
man, and I, said the Lord, will pardon the city. And I
answered, Surely these must be the poor——they are the
foolish; I will go to the great, for those know the way of the
Lord, to the chambers painted in vermilion, with ceilings of
cedar, smelling of incense of Sheba and the burning of sweet
cane——as a cage is full of birds, so their houses of deceit;
they have grown fat, the folds and collops of their faces
shine. Take away the battlements; they are not Mine! says
the Lord. From the least of them to the greatest they are
covetous; from the priest to the prophet——every one is false.
I will take from them, the Lord says, their mirth and
gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the
bride, the sound the millstones make and the light of the
I looked about
and there was no one; all the birds of heaven were fled;
the fruitful place was a wilderness,
and the cities of Judah were broken down.
A great people, whose language you do not know, is coming
from the north; they grasp bow and spear, their voice is
like the sea, and they ride upon horses
to mar the pride of Judah, the great pride of Jerusalem;
we shall not go into the fields
for fear of them——
Daughter of Zion,
comely and delicate woman,
the Lord has called Zion a green olive tree;
with the crash of thunder
He has kindled a fire upon it
and the branches of it are broken.
If one goes into the fields, he sees them thick with slain;
if he enters the city, he sees those that are sick with famine.
Because of the sword, because of the famine and of the
Jerusalem is given to the Chaldeans that fight against it!
At this Pash-hur shouts again, Should not men like this die?
But the elders reply, He prophesies in the name of the Lord——
he shall not die!
79 - Jerusalem the Golden
I: The Lion of Judah
The men of war spoke: Your hand against mine.
Mine against yours. The field is mine! The water is mine!
If the city is taken, kill the men of war,
kill every male; rip up the women with child!
The prophet has said, Let not their cattle live,
not even calf nor lamb before the Lord;
and Samuel, the old man, so feeble he leaned against his staff,
cried to Saul, Give me their king,
give me their smiling king to cut into pieces before the Lord.
But Nathan said to the king, even David, the great king,
You have dealt deceitfully with the Hittite, your faithful
and you shall not build the Lord's house,
because your hands have shed much blood.
II: The Shield of David
Then spoke the prophets: Our God is not of clay,
to be carried in our saddle-bags;
nor to be molten of silver or fine gold,
a calf to stand in our houses with unseeing eyes, unbending
Who is the King of Glory?
He is from everlasting to everlasting;
we go down to the darkness of the grave,
but all the lights of heaven are His.
The smoke of your sacrifices is hateful, says the Lord,
I hate your festivals, your feasts, and your fasts;
worship Me in righteousness;
worship Me in kindness to the poor and weak,
in justice to the orphan, the widow, the stranger among you,
and in justice to him who takes his hire from your hand;
for I am the God of Justice, I am the God of Righteousness.
He is the stars,
multitudinous as the drops of rain,
and the worm at our feet,
leaving only a blot on the stone;
except God there is nothing.
God neither hates nor loves, has neither pleasure nor pain;
were God to hate or love, He would not be God;
He is not a hero to fight our enemies,
nor like a king to be angry or pleased at us,
nor even a father to give us our daily bread, forgive us our
nothing is but as He wishes,
nothing was but as He willed it;
as He wills it, so it will be.
IV: Karl Marx
We shall arise while the stars are still shining,
while the street-lights burn brightly in the dawn,
to begin the work we delight in,
and no one shall tell us, Go,
you must go now
to the shop or office you work in
to waste your life for your living.
There shall be no more war, no more hatred;
none of us shall die of sickness;
there shall be bread and no one hunger for bread——
and fruit better than any a wild tree grew.
Wheels of steel and pistons of steel
shall fetch us water and hew us wood;
we shall call nothing mine——nothing for ourselves only.
Proclaim to the seed of man
throughout the length and breadth of the continents,
From each according to his strength,
to each according to his need.