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Wormicide, a poem by Rabbi Alter Abelson (1931)


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I see the worm beneath my feet,
Eating the dust, his morsel sweet,
And muse and say: “God’s mercies, prove
In all, His sorrow and His love.

What fates and fortunes must he know,
What gloom and glory weal and woe,
While grubbing in the dust to find
A crumb of food, a shelter kind.

And love, love builds and breaks his heart;
Of me and God, he is a part.
Where dream our dear and loved ones, he
Oft keeps their angel company.

He also has life’s push and strain,
But oh, no conscience gives him pain,
The way it harrows us, his kin.
What knows a worm of wrong and sin?”

Although God said that man may tread
The worm and serpent on the head,
I draw my heels away with shame,
I would not murder in Heaven’s name!

The poem “Wormicide” can be found in Alter Abelson’s collection of poetry, Sambatyon and other Poems, vol. 1 (New York: Ariel Publications, 1931), p. 258.


Wormicide by Rabbi Alter Abelson (1931)




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