In the beginning, we left Africa,
following the herds, fleeing the fighting.
Exiled, we took wives in the Land of Nod,
struck our harps in a hundred Babylons,
sang seannos, praised God in a strange land,
found our new Canaan already full of settlers.
We piled stone on stone, our houses rose and fell;
we planted seed, but reaped a blood harvest.
Pushed east and westward, crossed another river;
when the waters did not part for us, we waded,
holding our bundles, and our babies, over our heads.
And still we walked, each step shaking
ghetto dust from the welts of our shoes.
We hollowed logs, built clinker ships,
stowed away in steamers, trawlers, ribs,
washed up at jetties, dockyards and beaches,
salt stiffening the clothes we stood up in.
Some of us drowned, our graves marked only
by the waves. Sometimes we were taken
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