Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968). rn The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest. 1915.

I Sing the Battle
(From “The Cry of Youth”)

Harry Kemp

(A young American poet who has wandered over the world as sailor, harvest hand and tramp; born 1883)

I SING the song of the great clean guns that belch forth death at will.

Ah, but the wailing mothers, the lifeless forms and still!

I sing the songs of the billowing flags, the bugles that cry before.

Ah, but the skeletons flapping rags, the lips that speak no more!

I sing the clash of bayonets and sabres that flash and cleave.

And wilt thou sing the maimed ones, too, that go with pinned-up sleeve?

I sing acclaimèd generals that bring the victory home.

Ah, but the broken bodies that drip like honey-comb!

I sing of hearts triumphant, long ranks of marching men.

And wilt thou sing the shadowy hosts that never march again?