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The Child And The Mill Post by :1source Category :Poems Author :Don Marquis Date :October 2011 Read :1627

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The Child And The Mill


BETTER a pauper, penniless, asleep on the kindly
sod--
Better a gipsy, houseless, but near to the heart
of God,

That beats for ears not dulled by the clanking
wheels of care--
Better starvation and freedom, hope and the good
fresh air

Than death to the Something in him that was
born to laugh and dream,
That was kin to the idle lilies and the ripples of
the stream.

For out of the dreams of childhood, that careless
come and go,
The boy gains strength, unknowing, that the Man
will prove and know.

But these fools with their lies and their dollars,
their mills and their bloody hands,
Who make a god of a wheel, who worship their
whirring bands,

They are flinging the life of a people, raw, to the
brute machines.
Dull-eyed, weary, and old--old in his early teens--

Stunted and stupid and twisted, marred in the
mills of grief,
Can your factories fashion a Man of this thing--
a Man and a Chief?

Dumb is the heart of him now, at the time when
his heart should sing--
Wasters of body and brain, what race will the
future bring?

What of the nation's nerve whenas swift crises
come?
What of the brawn that should heave the guns on
the beck of the drum?


Thieves of body and soul, who can neither think
nor feel,
Swine-eyed priests of little false gods of gold and
steel,

Bow to your obscene altars, worship your loud
mills then!
Feed to Moloch and Baal the brawn and brains
of men--

But silent and watchful and hidden forever over
all
The masters brood of those Mills that "grind
exceeding small."

And it needs no occult art nor magic to foreshow
That a people who sow defeat they will reap the
thing they sow.




(The end)
Don Marquis's poem: Child And The Mill

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