Page 42 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 38

Basic HTML Version

32
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
In The Sweat Shop
T h e man that sleeps in me begins to waken — the slave that
wakens in me is put to sleep. N ow the righ t hour has come!
An end to misery, and end let it be! . . . But suddenly — the
whistle, the boss, an alarm! I lose my reason, fo r g e t where I
am; — there is a tumult, they battle, oh, my ego is lost! — I
know not, I care not, I am a machine! . . ,46
But Rosenfeld the poet, who sees the laborer indentured by the
system into a machine, urges him to hear the song o f the n ightin­
gale.
T h e N igh tinga le to the Laborer
Summer is today, summer is today! . . .
Your part is there, there is a share f o r you, —
So take it, oh, take it, you working man.
Summer is now, summer is now! . . .
Let the wheel be silent f o r a while!
You have worked so long so painfully . . .
L if t up with pleasure the cup o f enjoyment!
Summer is here, summer is here!
I shall not sing it to you eternally . . .
As long as I sing to you . . . the golden
dreams o f freedom . . . rise and let
me not urge you any longer! The
heaven will not remain eternally blue! . . .
You, who are fad ing at your machine . . .
Life is composed but o f moments,
And a moment unused is a battle lost
! 47
T h e east European-Jewish imm igrant heard the call o f the
nightingale, the go lden dream ; and he rose up from his machine,
seized the day and won the battle. But only a ha lf century later did
Am erica finally discover him, in and through the literature
created by his children and children ’s children.
46
Ib id .,
p. 7.
47
Ibid.,
pp. 29-30.