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Labor Day Poem

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The Factory Girl

When the trembling East is beginning to blush
With the rosy red of morn,
And the World holds her breath in a solemn hush
As another day is born.

I am startled from sleep's illusive dreams
By the factory whistle's imperious screams,
Which seem but an echo of yesterday
So soon has the short night passed away.

A child was I in my beautiful dream,
In my old home far away,
Where I strayed on the banks of a laughing stream,
Through the slumb'rous summer day,

And gathered the flowers that blossomed there,
With never a thought of work or care.
While the birds above in the murmuring trees
Poured their joyous songs on the perfumed breeze.

Why is it, I ask, that the birds are free
To flit over vale and hill,
While I a life-long slave must be
In a noisy, squalid mill?

Does God love the birds, and hate me so
That He fills my life with work and woe?
Or can it be that there is no God,
Save the factory master's cruel rod?

But God, or no God, I must be in my place,
When the heartless wheels begin
To turn the machine in its tireless race,
More wealth for its lord to win.

From my hurrying hands, with a fiendish roar,
It snatches its food and shouts for more
"More food, more food, for my sateless maw;
More gold, more gold, is my master's law."

No matter how weary my arms may grow,
No matter how numb with pain,
If I slacken my pace the machine seems to know,
And shrieks in its wrath again:

"More food, more food, for my sateless maw;
More gold, more gold, is any master's law."
Till the soul of the ghoulish machine, to me,
Seems to laugh at my helpless misery.

All day the demon laughs and leers.
Till my heart grows sick with fright;
And ever the taunt rings in my ears --
"I will have your soul to-night;

For my Soul and the master's soul are one,
And I'll come for your soul when the day is done.
More food, more food, for my sateless maw;
More gold, more gold, is my master's law."

Berkeley, Calif.
Publisher :- Walter V. Holloway
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