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 Factories

By Margaret Widdemer

(Contemporary American poet)
I HAVE shut my little sister in from life and light
  (For a rose, for a ribbon, for a wreath across my hair),
I have made her restless feet still until the night,
  Locked from sweets of summer and from wild spring air;
I who ranged the meadow lands, free from sun to sun,        5
  Free to sing and pull the buds and watch the far wings fly,
I have bound my sister till her playing-time is done—
  Oh, my little sister, was it I?—was it I?
I have robbed my sister of her day of maidenhood
  (For a robe, for a feather, for a trinket’s restless spark),        10
Shut from Love till dusk shall fall, how shall she know good,
  How shall she pass scatheless through the sinlit dark?
I who could be innocent, I who could be gay,
  I who could have love and mirth before the light went by,
I have put my sister in her mating-time away—        15
  Sister, my young sister,—was it I?—was it I?
I have robbed my sister of the lips against her breast
  (For a coin, for the weaving of my children’s lace and lawn),
Feet that pace beside the loom, hands that cannot rest,
  How can she know motherhood, whose strength is gone?        20
I who took no heed of her, starved and labor-worn,
  I against whose placid heart my sleepy gold heads lie,
Round my path they cry to me, little souls unborn,
  God of Life—Creator! It was I! It was I!

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.