Vachel Lindsay

1879-1931


Contents

The Leaden Eyed
Why I Voted the Socialist Ticket
The Unpardonable Sin


The Leaden Eyed

Let not young minds be smothered out before
They do quaint deeds and fully flaunt their pride
It is the world's one crime its babes grow dull
Its poor are ox-like, limp, and leaden-eyed.

Not that they starve, but that they starve so dreamlessly.
Not that they sow, but that they seldom reap.
Not that they serve, but that they have no gods to serve.
Not that they die, but that they die like sheep.


Why I Voted the Socialist Ticket

I am unjust, but I can strive for justice.
My life's unkind, but I can vote for kindness.
I, the unloving, say life should be lovely.
I, that am blind, cry out against my blindness.

Man is a curious brute - he pets his fancies -
Fighting mankind, to win sweet luxury.
So he will be, tho' law be clear as crystal,
Tho' all men plan to live in harmony.

Come, let us vote against our human nature,
Crying to God in all the polling places
To heal our everlasting sinfulness
And make us sages with transfigured faces.


The Unpardonable Sin

This is the sin against the Holy Ghost:-
To speak of bloody power as right divine,
And call on God to guard each vile chief's house,
And for such chiefs turn men to wolves and swine:-

To go forth killing in White Mercy's name,
Making the trenches stink with spattered brains,
Tearing the nerves and arteries apart,
Sowing with flesh the unreaped golden plains.

In any church's name, to sack fair towns,
And turn each home into a screaming sty,
To make the little children fugitive,
And have their mothers for a quick death cry,-

This is the sin against the Holy Ghost:
This is the sin no purging can atone:-
To send forth rapine in the name of Christ:-
To set the face, and make the heart a stone.

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