Page 57 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 1

Basic HTML Version

lished a great many religious and national songs in which he
gave full vent to the pent-up feelings of his God-seeking soul.
Some of these poems, to my mind, at least, are among the best
he wrote.
He would show me clippings of his poems and prose writings,
not yet published in book form, and remark:
“When I am gone, at least this will remain. My writings are
the immortal part of me—something that is not afraid of starva-
tion, enemies, dishonest and ignorant critics, or—death.”
And Death did not keep him waiting long. He was all alone
when it came, “the mower grim and old,” to quote the poet
Morris Rosenfeld lies in state at a funeral parlor on the lower
East Side. There he is, in an open coffin, his face smoothly
shaven, his mustache neatly trimmed, a praying shawl around
his shoulders. It seems to me there is a smile of contentment on
his face, as though he has finally found his happiness in non-
existence which has brought him, at last, the long-wished-for
The day of the funeral. Rosenfeld’s body is at the Forward
Hall on East Broadway. His family, his numerous readers and
admirers, the Jewish literary fraternity, crowd the hall. He
whose lyre was originally at tuned to Labor’s cause will now be
taken to his eternal rest from the home of the newspaper
founded by Labor. Abraham Raisen, a fellow-poet, moved every-
one to tears. Brief was his speech:
“Sleep, weary comrade-worker, rest in peace. Forget in your rest
all the sufferings and tribulations of your life. Rest in peace,
toiler of the pen!”
“Where is
Morris Rosenfeld?” occurs to me. Where is our,
where is America’s Morris Rosenfeld? For, great is America’s
loss, because Rosenfeld has never been truly appreciated, except
as a sensation, a sweatshop worker who “made good” ; has never
been taken to the bosom of his adopted country, never told, “You
have lived and suffered here most of your life, you have written
about me, you have loved me, you have given me the best of
yourself, you have worked for me, you have composed odes to
my Abraham Lincoln, you have sung paeons to the South, you
have praised the North, you have bewailed the lot of labor,
you have inspired the oppressed and downtrodden with hope
and faith, you have helped build this country, you have given
your heart and soul to make it a better, a more beautiful, a more
perfect land to live in. You are mine, and mine you shall be
And have not we, the poet’s fellow-Jews, been guilty of similar
neglect? Where is an exhaustive life of Morris Rosenfeld, a
5 7