poem index


Philip M. Raskin

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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)


by this poet


The Rabbi tells his old, old tale,
     The pupils seated round.
“…And thus, my boys, no holy oil
     In the Temple could be found.

The heathens left no oil to light
     The Lord’s eternal lamp;
At last one jar, one single jar,
     Was found with the high priest’s stamp.


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.


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?