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Confirmation, a poem by Miriam del Banco (1932)


Contribute a translationSource (English)
“Standing with reluctant feet
Where the brook and river meet.”[1] From “Maidenhood,” a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. 
An organ swelling out its solemn measure,
Its tones a-tremble on the morning air;
An altar wreathed with fragrant buds of spring-time;
A group of children, motionless in prayer.
An earnest look upon the childish faces,
So fair and innocent and free from guile;
The boyish ones already brave and noble —
The girlish faces, tender with a smile.
In each a timid look of awe and wonder —
A wish to scan the chart of time to be;
To seek, perchance, some fairy-land of pleasure
Within the bounds of bright reality.
O future! Mystic realm of light and shadow!
What will they find within thy portal grand?
Does joy lie dreaming in thy moonlit meadow?
Does thappiness beside thy gate-way stand?
What will young Israel in thee discover?
What fate will mark its era on thy chart?
The blight of apathy? —its mould and mildew?
Or deeds dictated by a Jewish heart?
These children — will they prove themselves as worthy
The loving trust of parents and of friends?
Will they sustain the dream that, in its beauty,
he future with a tinge of glory blends?
A group of angel faces hover o’er them,
Enlisted by a mother’s joyful tear —
A group of loving angels of protection,
Responsive to a father’s hope and fear.
The light of tapers falls in solemn splendor;
A psalm is sung by some one — soft and low;
And now a rabbi lifts his hands in blessing;
Look at the picture, prithee, ere we go!

The poem “Confirmation” by Miriam del Banco (1858-1931) was included in her posthumously published anthology, Poetry and Prose (1932), p. 80-81. The poem was likely published during her lifetime, but we do not know where or when. If you know, please leave a comment, or contact us. –Aharon Varady





1From “Maidenhood,” a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.



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