Saturday, February 4, 2012

with thanks to my friend Keith Woolnough

Here's an excerpt from Longfellow in response to "F. Scott" Romney, who would be POTUS, and who believes the "very poor" are different from him, and, like Oliver Twist, mustn't ask for more.

Titled "Challenge" the poem closes Jack London's book THE PEOPLE OF THE ABYSS.

There is a greater army
That besets us round with strife,
A starving, numberless army
At all the gates of life.

The poverty-stricken millions
Who challenge our wine and bread,
And impeach us all as traitors,
Both the living an the dead.

And whenever I sit at the banquet,
Where the feast and song are high,
Amid the mirth and music
I can hear that fearful cry.

And hollow and haggard faces
Look into the lighted hall,
And wasted hands are extended
To catch the crumbs that fall.

And within there is light and plenty,
And odors fill the air;
But without there is cold and darkness,
And hunger and despair.

And there in the camp of famine,
In wind, and cold, and rain,
Christ, the great Lord of the Army,
Lies dead upon the plain.