The Lynching Bee, and Other Poems

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B. W. Huebsch, Incorporated, 1920 - Lynching - 84 pages
 

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Page 44 - tis the Workers now are making. They make for times to come From times of old — how old! — From sweat, from blood, from hunger, and from tears, From scraps of hope (conserved through bitter years Despite the might and mockery of gold), They make, these haggard men, a bomb, — These haggard men with shawl-wives dumb And pinched-faced children cold, Descendants of the oldest, earth-born stock, Gnarled brothers of the surf, the ice, the fire, the rock, Gray wolf and gaunt storm-bird. They make...
Page 47 - Stripes their destinies Over a free (but ordered) commonweal! That incorruptible and austere court Of old men to this old man made report: They made report, this row of staunch patricians, Unto the bald lone tall man of the plebs; They bore no grudge, they took no gold, They may have loved him — for they too were old ; But, seated in their ancient nine positions, They sealed the prison sunset-years for Debs — As vindicators of those stern traditions That tore from black Dred Scott his freeman's...
Page 42 - Tom Mooney sits behind a grating, Beside a corridor, (He's waiting). Long since he picked or peeled or bit away The last white callous from his palms, they say. The crick is gone from out his back; And all the grease and grime Gone from each finger-nail and every knuckle-crack. (And that took time).
Page 26 - Here on the fork, except that spot of red (Still fierce as some primordial desire), All lust is dead: The lust to breed, the lust to burn; The rut of flesh, the glut of fire. . . . Lift up the head, If still you can, and turn To the great spaces of the skies. Black . . . black ... all black . . . The moon has set,— perhaps elsewhere to hang, Keen as a knife, bent like a boomerang, A witch's bangle in the Zodiac...
Page 26 - But Literature — Realization — Disillusion: they'll crucify you, O Lover of Wisdom! Do you not recall these probing lines written as a footnote, at the close of William Ellery Leonard's powerful poem, " The Lynching Bee " : (You cringe and shrink? — It makes your own eyes in their sockets ache ? O squeamish listener, but think It's all a midnight dream, and no one is awake ; And in the morning, with the bobolink, We'll see together, you and I, The flowers, the fields, the sun, the sky And the...
Page 46 - So they could do it after all! . . . They locked him up . . . the good old man . . . Behind the grated window and the wall . . . Stole in upon his sick-bed . . . whisked him off Before the rumor and the wrath began . . . Without one woodland flower of early spring Pressed to his big palm by some workman's child. And said the honest warden, welcoming: "You're rather rangy, Mr. Debs, and tall" . . . Embarrassed by a momentary cough . . . "But we will fit you out as best we can" . . . And the great...
Page 47 - May trip at last. . . . even in democracies. . . . And chiefly, if he tamper with the young, And worship, not the old divinities. . . . And when the charge is read him, clause by clause, And he replies with scanty penitence, He'll find (as found that worthy man At whose incessant lips once Athens took offense) The gentry of his latter audience Most ominously niggard of applause. . . . And though even then he talk .... as talk he can. . . . He lights (like Socrates) on no defense. . . . Except reiteration...
Page 42 - s head; They gather round great oaken desks — each twists Two copper bracelets for Tom Mooney's wrists. And down sky-scraper basements (all their own) They forge the spikes for his galvanic throne. The Gold-men love the jests of old Misrule — At ease at last, they'll laugh their fill; They'll deck Tom Mooney king, they will — King over knave and fool. And from enameled doors of rearward office-vaults, Lettered in gold with names that never crock, They will draw back the triple iron bolts, Then...
Page 43 - The pick-axe little Naples man, The rice-swamp coolies in Japan (No longer mere embroidery on a screen), The crowds that swarm from factory gates; At yellow dusks with all their hates, In Ireland, Austria, Argentine, In England, France, and Russia far (That slew a Czar), — Or where the Teutons lately rent The Iron Cross (on finding what it meant); At yellow dusks with all their hates From fiery shops or gas-choked mines, From round-house, mill, or lumber-pines, In the broad belt of these United...
Page 57 - Never before have four hundred million rats followed the lure of the shrill pipe of the rat-catcher." And an American poet has expanded Nicolai's pithy sentence into an equally grewsome poem: The huge Pied Piper, in a giant dance, Began his piping on the fields of France. ***** He piped and he jigged of fear and hate, Of love of country and glory of state; And he piped of God and he piped of Man...

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