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.
Exit Salvatore

By Clement Wood

(American poet, 1888–1950)
SALVATORE’S dead—a gap
  Where he worked in the ditch-edge, shovelling mud;
Slanting brow; a head mayhap
  Rather small, like a bullet; hot southern blood;
Surly now, now riotous        5
  With the flow of his joy; and his hovel bare,
As his whole life is to us—
  A stone in his belly the whole of his share.
Body starved, but the soul secure,
  Masses to save it from Purgatory,        10
And to dwell with the Son and the Virgin pure—
          Lucky Salvatore!
Salvatore’s glad, for see
  On the hearse and the coffin, purple and black,
Tassels, ribbons, broidery        15
  Fit for the Priest’s or the Pope’s own back;
Flowers costly, waxen, gay,
  And the mates from the ditch-edge, pair after pair;
Dirging band, and the Priest to pray,
  And the soul of the dead one pleasuring there.        20
Body starved, and the mind as well.
  Peace—let him rot in his costly glory,
Cheated no more with a Heaven or Hell—
          Exit Salvatore.

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