Afoul of the inveterate sect,
What fate befell the young remonstrant?
By what fixed look was he captured?
An example, he,
That the bee still stings—
And still strong the bite of excommunication;
That no window in the ghetto remains ajar…
Though he did not speak so,
It must appear
As though he spoke so,
That vengeance might be,
Exacted, in the name, of the Law,
On the Lamb, who windows opened,
Who had Haman’s ear.
What false gods
At the sills hovered,
Born of winter, in black mantles,
With sticks pointing?
And in pockets, in felt bags,
Gavels wrought of almond wood…
What emissaries of Esther?
What wanton will be pacified?
What Legend satisfied?
What queer justice … exercised?
More Lambs, first-born Sons,
By noose, by knave, by dagger, by Law…
Nine remain: Nine sacrifices of two minds—
To each offering its appointed season,
And by lunar decree, no reward of refuge;
No, too lenient were the elect,
Too strong their identification,
With the host!
For in too many small bones abided
A shearing weakness for the Hellene,
So marked were they by limps…
He and they, who in Cicero,
Find an enemy.
✖ From the Novel, Orchard Park and Other Works