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“Mene, Mene, Tekel Upharsin,” a prayer-poem by Miriam del Banco (1932)

https://opensiddur.org/?p=44760 “Mene, Mene, Tekel Upharsin,” a prayer-poem by Miriam del Banco (1932) 2022-06-11 10:21:44 The prayer-poem "“Mene, Mene, Tekel Upharsin”" by Miriam del Banco (1858-1931) was included in her posthumously published anthology, <em>Poetry and Prose</em> (1932), p. 94-95. Text the Open Siddur Project Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Miriam del Banco https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ Aharon N. Varady (transcription) https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ Rosh haShanah (l’Maaseh Bereshit) Yom Kippur Hoshana Rabbah 19th century C.E. זמן תשובה Zman teshuvah 57th century A.M. English poetry Prayers as poems English vernacular prayer תשובה teshuvah
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מְנֵא מְנֵא תְּקֵל וּפַרְסִין
“Mene, Mene, Tekel Upharsin” (Daniel 5:25)
Say, dost thou know the story
To which these words relate?
Long years have fled, like shadows,
Through Time’s wide open gate,
Since first their silent voices
Rang through the human heart;
Rang, like a silver clarion,
Their message to impart.
’Tis ages since that warning
Spoke from the palace wall—
As lightning from a storm-cloud
Speaks of the tempest’s thrall—
And yet, those words will ever
Shine with a light divine,
And, from forgotten ages,
Gleam through the mists of time.
Gleam on our hearts, that often
Disclaim the stain of wrong;
We deem ourselves unsullied
And in our virtues strong;
And yet, in God’s great balance,
Where virtue conquers sin,
How many have been tested!
How many wanting been!
Deep in the human bosom,
Though hidden far away,
There is a mystic chamber
ere passions oft hold sway,
And there the hand of reason—
That stern, unerring hand—
Inscribes the words our conscience
Cannot but understand.
It writes of wasted moments,
Of duties still undone,
Of powers for good neglected
Of victories unwon,
Of tender blossoms mangled
And crushed beneath our feet—
The lives we might have rendered
So perfect—so complete.
Of careless words it tells us—
We spoke them without thought;
Ah, could we know the heart-ache
Our ill-timed utt’rance wrought!
Of loving words unspoken,
And checked fore’er by death;
Or grand, inspiring accents
Lost on a voiceless breath.
Thus, in each throbbing bosom,
Though hidden and concealed,
Our failings are recorded
And to our souls revealed,
But Hope still smiles in Glory,
And Faith still points above,
And whispers: “Trust thou ever
Thy Father’s constant Love.”

The prayer-poem ““Mene, Mene, Tekel Upharsin”” by Miriam del Banco (1858-1931) was included in her posthumously published anthology, Poetry and Prose (1932), p. 94-95. 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

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