The Song of the Pick and Shovel.

Labor Call Thursday 16 December 1915 p. 2.
Listen to the pick and shovel
In the hands that dig,  
Primed with vim nor soft and novel—
Virile, terse and big!
Mates are they thro' wear and weather,
Clean in loam and clay,
Hear from them as they toil together,
Sing the time away.
Thro' the shelving reef we're delving,
And the cuts across;  
There are traces where the face is,
God will meet the loss.
Mighty is the power we wield;        
Rich the grain our labors yield—
Gold's the harvest of our field,  
Gold—not gilded dross!
Distant ends by us are nearing,        
Ever in the van  
We are with the workers clearing
For the wheels of man;  
Shimm'ring lines that tell the burden
Of the pioneers.
Bring to progeny their guerdon    
Thro' expanding years.
Hear our ringing while the flinging  
Leagues are held, in train,  
Filling spaces where a race is
Set for peaceful reign.      
North and West to South and East;
Many welded to the least,        
So they all are power-increased
To unbounded gain.

Terraced hives of stucco raree,
Where the myriads swarm,
Citadel and sanctuary,
We by mateship form;  
To the Few that Pelf makes callous,
We have sunken piles,
Founding fane and flower-set palace—
Roofed with ruddy tiles!
Oft we've trusted till we've rusted
Nobler parts to fill,  
Yet are waiting Love's abating
Of the works of will.
Oh! the hordes on glamor bent,
Massed where vigor's early spent,
While with waste the world is rent.
So wrong has its will.
Seas roll back and earth grows broader
By the might of Toil,  
Mankind widens till no border
Serves advance to foil.
Progress earns a quick promotion
Thro' our conquest won,
Where the ocean links with ocean  
As our work is done.
Underring for the erring,  
Privilege we raze,
Breaking strongholds that high wrong holds,    
We spend busy days
Broadening life till war must pass,
Rending Folly's gates of brass,
Where she dwelt with fancied class,
In Repression's ways.

Homes we've made thro' hours unnumbered
Since the earth begun,
Free of woes that light encumbered—
Havens every one!
 Peace is there and rest undreaming,
Tho' around in strife  
Brazen voices send their screaming—
"Stress must rule for life!"
There the clamor for earth's glamor
Ne'er invades the home,
Safe it passes o'er, where grasses
Form a vernal dome.
Ne'er is waste arid never dearth,
Stress and Favor find their worth
In our anchorage of earth,
Where all men do come.


More about the tramways worker, journalist and poet L.J.Villiers on this blog

No comments: