Nonfiction > Upton Sinclair, ed. > The Cry for Justice

Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968).
The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest.  1915.
Insouciance in Storm
(From “The Cry of Youth”)

By Harry Kemp

(A young American poet who has wandered over the world as sailor, harvest hand and tramp; born 1883)
DEEP in an ore-boat’s hold
  Where great-bulked boilers loom
And yawning mouths of fire
  Irradiate the gloom,
I saw half-naked men        5
  Made thralls to flame and steam,
Whose bodies, dripping sweat,
  Shone with an oily gleam.
There, all the sullen night,
  While waves boomed overhead        10
And smote the lurching ship,
  The ravenous fires they fed;
They did not think it brave:
  They even dared to joke!
I saw them light their pipes        15
  And puff calm rings of smoke!
I saw a Passer sprawl
  Over his load of coal—
At which a Fireman laughed
  Until it shook his soul:        20
All this in a hollow shell
  Whose half-submerged form
On Lake Superior tossed
  ’Mid rushing hills of storm!

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