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

(From “The Present Hour”)

Percy Mackaye

(American poet and dramatist, born 1875. One of a group of six sonnets, entitled “Carnage,” written in September, 1914)

SO thin, so frail the opalescent ice

Where yesterday, in lordly pageant, rose

The monumental nations—the repose

Of continents at peace! Realities

Solid as earth they seemed; yet in a trice

Their bastions crumbled in the surging floes

Of unconceivable, inhuman woes,

Gulfed in a mad, unmeaning sacrifice.

We, who survive that world-quake, cower and start,

Searching our hidden souls with dark surmise:

So thin, so frail—is reason? Patient art—

Is it all a mockery, and love all lies?

Who sees the lurking Hun in childhood’s eyes?

Is hell so near to every human heart?