The letters of the Jews as strict as flames
Or little terrible flowers lean
Stubbornly upwards through the perfect ages,
Singing through solid stone the sacred names.
The letters of the Jews are black and clean
And lie in chain-line over Christian pages.
The chosen letters bristle like barbed wire
That hedge the flesh of man,
Twisting and tightening the book that warns.
These words, this burning bush, this flickering pyre
Unsacrifices the bled son of man
Yet plaits his crown of thorns.
Where go the tipsy idols of the Roman
Past synagogues of patient time,
Where go the sisters of the Gothic rose,
Where go the blue eyes of the Polish women
Past the almost natural crime,
Past the still speaking embers of ghettos,
There rise the tinder flowers of the Jews.
The letters of the Jews are dancing knives
That carve the heart of darkness seven ways.
These are the letters that all men refuse
And will refuse until the king arrives
And will refuse until the death of time
And all is rolled back in the book of days.
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (The Alphabet by Karl Shapiro )
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
William Butler Yeats
(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- As I Grew Older, Langston Hughes
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Mother to Son, Langston Hughes
- I, Too, Langston Hughes
- Let America be America Again, Langston Hughes
- April Rain Song, Langston Hughes
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- Life Is Fine, Langston Hughes
Poem of the Day
- I'm Kunta, Ivan Brooks Sr
- Martin Chuzzlewit II, douglas scotney
- In my head., Jessica Amburgey
- Groove Of A New Sound, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- Depths Of Remembering, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- 185, John Westlake
- Wash over me., Jessica Amburgey
- Martin Chuzzlewit, douglas scotney
- Love Note 18, Michael P. McParland
- A Rest 2, Michael P. McParland