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About this poet

Philip M. Raskin was born on December 24, 1880, in Shklov, Russia, and received his education in secular studies and Hebrew studies in Russia, Switzerland, and England before working as a staff member of the Health Department of the City of Leeds in Yorkshire, England. In 1914, he published his first poetry collection, Songs of a Jew (George Routledge & Sons), and the following year, he immigrated to the United States. Raskin authored several more volumes of poetry in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish in both England and America, and in 1927, he edited and introduced Anthology of Modern Jewish Poetry (Behrman’s Jewish Book Shop, 1927). He died on February 6, 1944, in New York.


Selected Bibliography

Lanterns in the Wind (C. L. Tumasel, 1937)
When a Soul Sings (Thomas Seltzer, 1922)
Songs and Dreams (The Stratford Co., 1920)
Songs of a Wanderer (The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1917)
Songs of a Jew (George Routledge & Sons, 1914)


 

The First Snow

Fairy-like on earth advancing,
All transforming, all entrancing,
Playing on their way and dancing,
        Soil-untarnished yet,

Silver stars from sky are dropping,
Little fairies skipping, hopping,
On the roofs and turrets popping,
        Crowns with diamonds set.

Greeting nature’s silver wedding,
Argent splendor they are shedding,
And a bridal veil outspreading,
        Like a silver net;

Till town-alleys, foul and tainted,
Turn cathedral-aisles ensainted,
Carved with gorgeous, ermine-painted,
        Ornamental fret.

How all changed by elfin power!
Every house a magic tower,
Every tree with lilac-flower
        Lures like a coquette.

Following in their magic traces,
Hidden joy each heart embraces,
Sparkling eyes and brightened faces
        Everywhere are met.

How I love you, white-robed city,
Maiden-pure, and maiden-pretty!
But my love is—what a pity!—
        Tempered with regret.

Truer lover you would find me,
If you were not to remind me
Of a cold land left behind me
        That I’d fain forget.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Philip M. Raskin

Philip M. Raskin was born on December 24, 1880, in Shklov, Russia, and received his education in secular studies and Hebrew studies in Russia, Switzerland, and England before working as a staff member of the Health Department of the City of Leeds in Yorkshire, England. In 1914, he published his first poetry collection, Songs of a Jew (George Routledge & Sons), and the following year, he immigrated to the United States.

by this poet

poem

In my youth hope hired
     In my heart a tent;
Promised me a fortune,
     Never paid her rent.

Bankrupt is my tenant—
     This I know at length—
Why then to expel her
     Do I lack the strength?

poem

I kindled my eight little candles,
     My Hanukkah candles, and lo!
Fair visions and dreams half-forgotten
     Were rising of years long ago.

I musingly gazed at my candles;
     Meseemed in their quivering flames
In golden, in fiery letters
     I read the old, glorious

poem

Have you heard the linnet trilling,
     To discover did you try
What is hidden in her carol—
     Does she sing or does she cry?

I am singing like the linnet,
     When my heart does pine and long;
Love, and pain, and joy, and sorrow,
     All are hidden in my song.