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.
Slum Children
(From “Songs of Joy”)

By William H. Davies

(An English poet whose “Autobiography of a Super-tramp” was given to the world with an introduction by Bernard Shaw)
YOUR songs at night a drunkard sings,
  Stones, sticks and rags your daily flowers;
Like fishes’ lips, a bluey white,
  Such lips, poor mites, are yours.
Poor little things, so sad and solemn,        5
  Whose lives are passed in human crowds—
When in the water I can see
  Heaven with a flock of clouds.
Poor little mites that breathe foul air,
  Where garbage chokes the sink and drain—        10
Now when the hawthorn smells so sweet,
  Wet with the summer rain.
But few of ye will live for long;
  Ye are but small new islands seen,
To disappear before your lives        15
  Can grow and be made green.

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