Nonfiction > Upton Sinclair, ed. > The Cry for Justice
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Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968).
The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest.  1915.
 
By-the-Way
(From “Songs of the Dead End”)

By Patrick MacGill

(A young Irishman, called the “Navvy poet”; born 1890. From the age of twelve to twenty a farm laborer, ditch-digger and quarryman. As this work goes to press, he is fighting with his regiment in Flanders)
 
THESE be the little verses, rough and uncultured, which
I’ve written in hut and model, deep in the dirty ditch,
On the upturned hod by the palace made for the idle rich.
 
Out on the happy highway, or lines where the engines go,
Which fact you may hardly credit, still for your doubts ’tis so,        5
For I am the person who wrote them, and surely to God, I know!
 
Wrote them beside the hot-plate, or under the chilling skies,
Some of them true as death is, some of them merely lies,
Some of them very foolish, some of them otherwise.
 
Little sorrows and hopings, little and rugged Rhymes,        10
Some of them maybe distasteful to the moral men of our times,
Some of them marked against me in the Book of the Many Crimes.
 
These, the Songs of a Navvy, bearing the taint of the brute,
Unasked, uncouth, unworthy, out to the world I put,
Stamped with the brand of labor, the heel of a navvy’s boot.        15
 
 
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