May Beals


Published: The Cry For Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest, ed. by Upton Sinclair, John C. Winston Co., 1915.
Transcribed: for in January, 2002.

Sometimes I feel the tide of life in me
Flood upward, higher and higher, till I stand
Tiptoe, aflame with energy, a god
Young, virile, glorying in my youth and power
But not for long, the grip of poverty
Seizes me, sets my daily task; the eyes
Of those I love, looking to me for bread
Pierce me like eagles' beaks through very love.

I am Prometheus bound; these cares and fears
Tears at my vitals, leave me broken, spent.

And unavailingly 'tis spent, my life,
My wondrous life, so pregnant with rich powers.
That stuff in me from which heroic deeds,
Great thoughts and noble poems might be made
Is wrenched from me, is coined in wealth, and spent
By others; save that I and mine receive
A mere existence, bare of hope and joy,
Bare even of comfort.

      Comrades, stretched and bound
In agony on labor's rock, we live--
And die--to fatten vultures!