Sonnets of the Strike



‘CONDITIONS in our mines are excellent;
Considering, of course, the industry
Is hazardous, at best, I think that we
Lost fewer men by fatal accident
Last season than one half of one per cent
Of those employed; and I will willingly
Go with you throughout any property;
Talk sanitation to you, wages, rent —’
The clear, dry voice, the steady, steel-gray eyes,
Icy alike, alike unwavering,
In sudden change took me by swift surprise;
The eyes flashed and the voice took on a ring:
‘This Union fights us with the basest lies;
And so, by Heaven, we will crush the thing!’



‘Slave of Efficiency!’ In deep disdain
The agitator sneered and walked away.
‘You do not know your God has feet of clay.’
Haranguing loud and shrill, like one insane,
He urged the men to strike with might and main.
‘Suffer the masters not another day;
Breaking the clouds of serfdom, one small ray
Predicts a sudden ending to their reign.'
Patient, and still unmoving as a stone,
I listened to him lie and rant and brag
And tell of hardships he had never known;
But when I saw him flaunt a crimson rag
I struck him down — The alien, left alone,
Regretted that he’d cursed my country’s flag.