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 Midnight Lunch Room
(From “The Frozen Grail and Other Poems”)

By Elsa Barker

(Contemporary American poet and novelist. Catherine Breshkovsky, called “Little Mother” by the Russian peasants, was sentenced to a long term of exile in Siberia when seventy-seven years of age)
WITH little silver one may enter here,
  And yet those hungry faces watch outside
  The frosty window—and the door is wide!
The clatter to my unaccustomed ear
Of dishes and harsh tongues, is like a spear        5
  Shaken within the sensitive wounded side
  Of Silence. Soiled, indifferent hands provide
Pitiful fare, and cups of pallid cheer.
In my warm, fragrant home an hour ago
  I wrote a sonnet on the peace they win        10
Who worship Beauty! Let me breathe it low.
  What would it mean if chanted in this din?
What would it say to those out in the snow,
  Who hunger, and who may not enter in?

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