Menken, Adah Isaacs
"Repent, or I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight thee with
the sword of my mouth." --
ASHKELON is not cut off with the remnant of a valley,
Baldness dwells not upon Gaza.
The field of the valley is mine, and it is clothed in
The steepness of Baal-perazim is mine;
And the Philistines spread themselves in the valley of
They shall yet be delivered into my hands.
For the God of Battles has gone before me!
The sword of the mouth shall smite them to dust.
I have slept in the darkness--
But the seventh angel woke me, and giving me, a sword
of flame, points to the blood-ribbed cloud, that lifts his
reeking head above the mountain.
Thus am I the prophet.
I see the dawn that heralds to my waiting soul the advent
Power that will unseal the thunders!
Power that will give voice to graves!
21Graves of the living;
Graves of the dying;
Graves of the sinning;
Graves of the loving;
Graves of despairing;
And oh! graves of the deserted!
These shall speak, each as their voices shall be loosed.
And the day is dawning.
Stand back, ye Philistines!
Practice what ye preach to me;
I heed ye not, for I know ye all.
Ye are living burning lies, and profanation to the garments
ments which with stately steps ye sweep your marble
Your places of Sin, around which the damning evidence
of guilt hangs like a reeking vapor.
I would pass up the golden road of the world.
A place in the ranks awaits me.
I know that ye are hedged on the borders of my path.
Lie and tremble, for ye well know that I hold with iron
grasp the battle axe.
Creep back to your dark tents in the valley.
Slouch back to your haunts of crime.
Ye do not know me, neither do ye see me.
But the sword of the mouth is unsealed, and ye coil
yourselves in slime and bitterness at my feet.
I mix your jeweled heads, and your gleaming eyes, and
your hissing tongues with the dust.
22My garments shall bear no mark of ye.
When I shall return this sword to the angel, your four
blood will not stain its edge.
It will glimmer with the light of truth, and the strong
arm shall rest.
I am no Magdalene waiting to kiss the hem of your
It is mid-day.
See ye not what is written on my forehead?
I am Judith!
I wait for the head of my Holofernes!
Ere the last tremble of the conscious death-agony shall
have shuddered, I will show it to ye with the long black
hair dinging to the glazed eyes, and the great mouth
opened in search of voice, and the strong throat all hot
and reeking with blood, that will thrill me with wild
unspeakable joy as it courses down my bare body and dabbles
my cold feet!
My sensuous soul will quake with the burden of so
Oh, what wild passionate kisses will I draw up from
that bleeding mouth!
I will strangle this pallid throat of mine on the sweet
I will revel in my passion.
At midnight I will feast on it in the darkness.
For it was that which thrilled its crimson tides of reeky
less passion through the blue veins of my life, and made
23them leap up in the wild sweetness of Love and agony of
I am starving for this feast.
Oh forget not that I am Judith!
And I know where sleeps Holofernes.