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.
The Man Under the Stone
(From “The Man with the Hoe and other Poems”)

By Edwin Markham
WHEN I see a workingman with mouths to feed,
Up, day after day, in the dark before the dawn,
And coming home, night after night, thro’ the dusk,
Swinging forward like some fierce silent animal,
I see a man doomed to roll a huge stone up an endless steep.        5
He strains it onward inch by stubborn inch,
Crouched always in the shadow of the rock.…
See where he crouches, twisted, cramped, misshapen!
    He lifts for their life;
    The veins knot and darken—        10
    Blood surges into his face.…
    Now he loses—now he wins—
    Now he loses—loses—(God of my soul!)
    He digs his feet into the earth—
    There’s a movement of terrified effort.…        15
    It stirs—it moves!
    Will the huge stone break his hold
    And crush him as it plunges to the Gulf?
The silent struggle goes on and on,
Like two contending in a dream.        20

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