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THE WANDERING JEW
by
Andrew Vasey

I was in the pub one winter night -
A quick one for the road -
When through the door there came a man,
With age and sorrow bowed.

His face was deeply wrinkled,
His movements pained and slow;
From his threadbare clothes he brushed
A sprinkling of snow.

I pitied him and asked him,
"Who in heaven's name are you?"
"In heaven's name indeed," he said,
"I'm called the Wandering Jew."

My curiosity was roused;
I bought the chap a beer.
I told him that his story
Was one I'd like to hear.

He sipped his drink and as he did
A tear ran down his face.
"I'd rather not," he said to me,
"Relive my great disgrace."

I pitied him and asked him
"What bad thing did you do?"
"As punishment," he told me,
"I became the Wandering Jew."

It seems he had a cobbler's shop
In old Jerusalem town,
And at that spot the Son of God
Had laid his burden down.

The burden was a wooden cross
He carried to the hill;
The cobbler pushed him from the door -
For this he suffered still.

I pitied him and told him
There'd been other miscreants, too.
"But none," he said, "endured the fate
That befell the Wandering Jew."

Apparently that fate entailed
A journey he abhorred -
A journey that would only end
With the coming of the Lord.

And every hundred years or so,
He made me understand,
He'd go to sleep and wake again
A very different man.

I pitied him and told him
A fate like that I'd rue.
"But you can only guess the pain,"
Averred the Wandering Jew.

At last the old chap nodded off,
And such a change took place -
The wrinkles all were smoothed away
Upon that sleeping face.

His hair that had been grey and thin
Now thick and lustrous grew,
And as I watched, I'd swear he looked
No more than twenty-two.

I pitied him? Not I, my friend,
For here's my point of view -
I'd love to wake up young again,
Just like the Wandering Jew!

 
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