Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
Our Daily Bread
By Rita Benton
On the “Hunger Parade” of the unemployed—Chicago, January 17th, 1915

“GIVE us this day our daily bread—
Give us our right,” the hungry said.
Walking along the darkening way,
“Give us our daily bread,” we say.
Hark to the tread of the sullen feet,        5
Marching down the sleety street:
Hunger staggers along the way.
“Give us our bread and work—today!”
Swaying banners overhead—
“Give us this day our daily bread.”        10
Masses of men and women throng—
Living witness of living wrong.
“Work, not charity!” is the cry.
Is it sincere—I know not, I!
What can I give but some small dole?        15
But—will that satisfy my soul?
Buffeting through the wind and the rain,
They will pass again and again,
Menacing all who are sleek and fed:
“Give—or we’ll take—our daily bread.”        20
Reads like a story of long ago:
“Driven by want, driven by woe,
Peasants arose and began to slay:”
But it all happened yesterday.
Reads like a tale from some far-off land,        25
Countries we do not understand
(Where there will be the devil to pay!)
But— it all happened across the way.

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