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

A Prayer of the Peoples
(From “The Present Hour”)

Percy Mackaye

(American poet and dramatist, born 1875)

GOD of us who kill our kind!

Master of this blood-tracked Mind

Which from wolf and Caliban

Staggers toward the star of Man—

Now, on Thy cathedral stair,

God, we cry to Thee in prayer!

Where our stifled anguish bleeds

Strangling through Thine organ reeds,

Where our voiceless songs suspire

From the corpses in Thy choir—

Through Thy charred and shattered nave,

God, we cry on Thee to save!

Save us from our tribal gods!

From the racial powers, whose rods—

Wreathed with stinging serpents—stir

Odin and old Jupiter

From their ancient hells of hate

To invade Thy dawning state.…

Lord, our God! to whom, from clay,

Blood and mire, Thy peoples pray—

Not from Thy cathedral’s stair

Thou hearest:—Thou criest through our prayer

For our prayer is but the gate:

We, who pray, ourselves are fate.