Vachel Lindsay

(November 10, 1879 – December 5, 1931 / Springfield, Illinois)

To The United States Senate - Poem by Vachel Lindsay

And must the Senator from Illinois
Be this squat thing, with blinking, half-closed eyes?
This brazen gutter idol, reared to power
Upon a leering pyramid of lies?

And must the Senator from Illinois
Be the world's proverb of successful shame,
Dazzling all State house flies that steal and steal,
Who, when the sad State spares them, count it fame?

If once or twice within his new won hall
His vote had counted for the broken men;
If in his early days he wrought some good —
We might a great soul's sins forgive him then.

But must the Senator from Illinois
Be vindicated by fat kings of gold?
And must he be belauded by the smirched,
The sleek, uncanny chiefs in lies grown old?

Be warned, O wanton ones, who shielded him —
Black wrath awaits. You all shall eat the dust.
You dare not say: "To-morrow will bring peace;
Let us make merry, and go forth in lust."

What will you trading frogs do on a day
When Armageddon thunders thro' the land;
When each sad patriot rises, mad with shame,
His ballot or his musket in his hand?

In the distracted states from which you came
The day is big with war hopes fierce and strange;
Our iron Chicagos and our grimy mines
Rumble with hate and love and solemn change.

Too many weary men shed honest tears,
Ground by machines that give the Senate ease.
Too many little babes with bleeding hands
Have heaped the fruits of empire on your knees.

And swine within the Senate in this day,
When all the smothering by-streets weep and wail;
When wisdom breaks the hearts of her best sons;
When kingly men, voting for truth, may fail: —

These are a portent and a call to arms.
Our protest turns into a battle cry:
"Our shame must end, our States be free and clean;
And in this war we choose to live and die."


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Read poems about / on: war, sad, lust, hate, change, power, house, truth, peace, world, warning, frog, hope, rose, son



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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