Sarah N. Cleghorn

The Mother Follows

Source: May Days: An Anthology of Verse from Masses-Liberator, Edited by Genevieve Taggard, Boni and Liveright, 1925;
Transcribed: Sally Ryan for in 2000.

She follows the children out to play,
And calls and clutches when they stray
The hideous, nameless house too near,
Or in the bright saloon would peer.
When will the foolish creature learn
That these are none of her concern?
    "Go home and take care of your children."

She follows the young things to the mill,
And rashly seeks to guard them still
From fenceless cogs that whirl and thrust
And fill the air with lint and dust.
The pay is small, the hours are long,
The fire-escapes are none too strong–
Meddlesome woman! Home again!
This is the business of the men.
    "Go home and take care of your children."

At last she follows the children home,
Up to the dark and airless room,
By noisome hall and lampless stair;
But these are none of her affair;
Nor should she seek to help or kill
Amendments to the Tenement Bill.
Yet now she wears upon her breast
A button with the bold request:
    "Let me take care of my children!"