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Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968).
The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest.  1915.
 
A Woman’s Execution

By Edward King

(After the Paris Commune of 1871, the leaders of the people were led out and slaughtered by thousands. The author of this poem was an American journalist, 1848–1896)
 
SWEET-BREATHED and young,
  The people’s daughter,
No nerves unstrung,
  Going to slaughter!
 
“Good morning, friends,        5
  You’ll love us better,—
Make us amends:
  We’ve burst your fetter!
 
“How the sun gleams!
  (Women are snarling):        10
Give me your beams,
  Liberty’s darling!
 
“Marie’s my name;
  Christ’s mother bore it.
The badge? No shame:        15
  Glad that I wore it!”
 
(Hair to the waist,
  Limbs like a Venus):
Robes are displaced:
  “Soldiers, please screen us!        20
 
“He at the front?
  That is my lover:
Stood all the brunt;—
  Now—the fight’s over.
 
“Powder and bread        25
  Gave out together:
Droll to be dead
  In this bright weather!
 
“Jean, boy, we might
  Have married in June!        30
This is the wall? Right!
  Vive la Commune!”
 
 
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