Poem for the impeachment

This poem “Protest” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox published 100 years ago seems appropriate today as we begin to take action to restore our national decency.

PROTEST

To sit in silence when we should protest

Makes cowards out of men. The human race

Has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised

Against injustice, ignorance and lust

The Inquisition yet would serve the law

And guillotines decide our least disputes.

The few who dare must speak and speak again

To right the wrongs of many. Speech, thank God,

No vested power in this great day and land

Can gag or throttle; Press and voice may cry

Loud disapproval of existing ills,

May criticise oppression and condemn

The lawlessness of wealth-protecting laws

That let the children and child-bearers toil

To purchase ease for idle millionaires.

Therefore do I protest against the boast

Of independence in this mighty land.

Call no chain strong which holds one rusted link,

Call no land free that holds one fettered slave.

Until the manacled, slim wrists of babes

Are loosed to toss in childish sport and glee;

Until the Mother bears no burden save

The precious one beneath her heart; until

God’s soil is rescued from the clutch of greed

And given back to labour, let no man

Call this the Land of Freedom.


Note that most modern versions of this poem say “To sin in silence…” but this was the wording I found online in the published book of poetry.

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