The voice of Edwin Markham, outstanding American poet, is the latest to join in the endorsement of the $6,000,000 Allied Jewish Campaign, which is being conducted in behalf of the Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency for Palestine. In his newest published poem, which appears in The Jewish Tribune, the author of “The Man with the Hoe” calls upon American Jews to help their starving co-religionists in Eastern Europe and to support the work of rebuilding the Jewish Homeland in the Holy Land.
The Allied Jewish Campaign was launched early in March under the auspices of America’s leading Jewish citizens. Among the national and local chairmen and honorary chairmen are: Felix M. Warburg, Nathan Straus, Lieut. Gov. Herbert H. Lehman, Arthur Lehman, Louis Lipsky, David Bressler, Morris Roghenberg, Paul Baerwald, Isidore D. Morrison, Judge Otto Rosalsky, Judge William M. Lewis, James N. Rosenberg and scores of other notables.
The poem runs as follows:
BREAD AND HOME
Out of Eurasia comes a cry
From hungering people like to die
All roads in Europe hear their moans;
All roads in Asia know their groans.
Old fathers totter as they creep;
Old mothers sob out of their sleep.
And little children wonder why
They are so early doomed to die.
Yet ages ago this people spread
For starved humanity a bread.
The bread of the spirit from their hands
Went out to feed all hungry lands
It was Heaven’s gift, it was earth’s joy,
A bread that time cannot destroy.
Now for the bread of the body they cry,
Who heard the thunders of Sinai.
Now they hunger and cry aloud.
This people once so nobly proud.
So this is the hour to stretch our hands
To those who cry from other lands.
This is the hour when we have chance
To join Love’s high divine romance,
To harken to their mighty need,
And turn religion into deed.
O comrades, only as we give
Will our own souls stand up and live.
This cry for bread, this dying wail
God’s wrath will reach us if we fail!
Yes, there is tragic need for bread,
But there’s still greater need ahead.
All Jews were once in brother-bands:
Now they are scattered in all lands;
And many are homesick as they roam,
And long to find their ancient home.
A Voice is crying to women and men:
“Back to the Homeland once again
Back to old roads the Prophets trod,
Who felt the heartbeats of their God
Who cried to earth their mighty themes
And gave to men their noblest dreams.”
Yes, back to the Homeland is the cry
Now growing louder in every sky.
The footsteps left in Palestine
Have made her deathless and divine.
Out of her mystery of old
The thunders of the Prophets rolled
The rage of Amos against the wrongs,
The harp of David’s tender songs,
The wail of Job’s impassioned cry
Against the injustice of the sky,
Isaiah’s thunder against the lust
Of cities doomed to death and dust.
In his high reprimands were heard
The trumpets of the Judgment Word.
These memories will draw Israel back
From the world’s poverty and rack
Back to the land where once the Law
Was wrapped in mystery and awe
Back to their Palestine, where men
Must build their greatness once again
The land where they must mold a State,
A shelter from appalling fate.
Free men must rise at last to build
The Brotherhood that God has willed.
Hark, comrades, out of their far-off sky
Comes on the wind their hungry cry.
Sometimes we hear, too, as we roam,
Their long, long cry for rest and home.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.