Dawn to dusk, your hands and eyes
Bent over sewing – girl, don’t cry.
Tomorrow it shall come to pass:
Your worries will die like poisoned mice.
On that day, in iron and stone,
Men will roar like bears, while women,
Old men, and babies at the breast
Chase down robbers and arsonists.
My girl – what a fire! Your beloved is coming
To carry you off, on bird wings.
You, upsettingly, work all day long, from morning to night, straining your hands and eyes to sew. But, you must not cry. Your worries and hardships will soon disappear. Women will gain power and freedom. Men will feel as though their domain has been encroached upon. They will try to exert their power, however be unable to. Your beloved, equality, will come and set you free from your current situation.
When I first read Moshe-Leyb Halpern’s “It Shall Come to Pass,” I was not sure what to think of it; yet, something about the poem intrigued me. Each time I read the poem, I noticed a different nuance. Having to “translate” this poem into prose forced me to delve into meaning of the individual words. I had to look at each work and think about whether it was significant; and if so, why, what did it mean? I particularly struggled with the following section: “On that day, in iron and stone, Men will roar like bears, while women, Old men, and babies at the breast Chase down robbers and arsonists.” After much deliberation, I felt as though the “iron and stone” was a reference to prison and therefore symbolized feelings of being trapped. “[Roaring] like bears” appears to be the mens’ attempt to exert their power, however they are trapped by the “iron and stone.” Due to this constraint, the women, and other traditionally less abled people, are forced to take on roles that were traditionally male, such as defending the community.
I am still not sure if my interpretation is what the author meant his audience to take away from the poem. The feminist meaning that I derived from the poem seems to be abnormal for a male writer of the time. Thus, I would be interested to know if others had a different take away from this piece.