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.
Fleet Street Eclogues

By John Davidson

(Scotch poet and dramatist, 1857–1909; after struggling for many years in London against poverty and ill-health, committed suicide, leaving some of the most striking and original poetry of the present age. In these dialogues a number of English journalists discuss their views of life. The author, by his tragic death, may be said to have put the seal of sincerity upon his bitter utterances.)
I, TOO, for light the world explore,
  And, trembling, tread where angels trod;
Devout at every shrine adore,
  And follow after each new god.
But by the altar everywhere        5
  I find the money-changer’s stall;
And littering every temple-stair
  The sick and sore like maggots crawl.…
And always divers undertones
  Within the roaring tempest throb—        10
The chink of gold, the laborer’s groans,
  The infant’s wail, the woman’s sob.
Hoarsely they beg of Fate to give
  A little lightening of their woe,
A little time to love, to live,        15
  A little time to think and know.
I see where from the slums may rise
  Some unexpected dreadful dawn—
The gleam of steeled and scowling eyes,
  A flash of women’s faces wan!        20

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