Upon the Slaughter

By Hayyim Nahman Bialik

Published April 04, 2003, issue of April 04, 2003.

Heavenly spheres, beg mercy for me!

If truly God dwells in your orbit and round,

And in your space is His pathway that I have not found —

Then you pray for me!

For my own heart is dead; no prayer on my tongue;

And strength has failed, and hope has passed:

O until when? For how much more? How long?

Ho, headsman, bared the neck — come, cleave it through!

Nape me this cur’s nape! Yours is the axe unbaffled!

The whole wide world — my scaffold!

And rest you easy: we are weak and few.

My blood is outlaw. Strike, then; the skull dissever!

Let blood of babe and graybeard stain your garb —

Stain to endure forever!

If Right there be — why, let it shine forth now!

For if when I have perished from the earth

The Right shine forth,

Then let its Throne be shattered, and laid low!

Then let the heavens, wrong-racked, be no more!

— While you, O murderers, on your murder thrive,

Live on your blood, regurgitate this gore!

Who cries Revenge! Revenge! — accursed be he!

Fit vengeance for the spilt blood of a child

The devil has not yet compiled…

No, let that blood pierce world’s profundity,

Through the great deep pursue its mordications,

There eat its way in darkness, there undo,

Undo the rotted earth’s foundations!

Translated by Abraham M. Klein

Copyright 1948 by Histadrut Ivrit of America



Would you like to receive updates about new stories?






















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.