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.

By May Beals

(Contemporary American writer and lecturer)
SOMETIMES I feel the tide of life in me
Flood upward, high and higher, till I stand
Tiptoe, aflame with energy, a god,
Young, virile, glorying in my youth and power.
But not for long; the grip of poverty        5
Seizes me, sets my daily task; the eyes
Of those I love, looking to me for bread
Pierce me like eagles’ beaks through very love.
I am Prometheus bound; these cares and fears
Tear at my vitals, leave me broken, spent.        10
And unavailingly ’tis spent, my life,
My wondrous life, so pregnant with rich powers.
That stuff in me from which heroic deeds,
Great thoughts and noble poems might be made
Is wrenched from me, is coined in wealth, and spent        15
By others; save that I and mine receive
A mere existence, bare of hope and joy,
Bare even of comfort.
        Comrades, stretched and bound
In agony on labor’s rock, we live—        20
And die—to fatten vultures!

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