A Million Jobless Men

by Luke North

A million jobless men –
On twenty-three hundred million acres of idle earth
Rich with unworked mines,
Webbed with highways and railroads,
Watered with rivers and brooks
Under snow-capped peaks and mountain lakes.

A Million jobless men –
In an idle, unused, vacant, fertile land
Dotted here and there with villages and cities
In which a hundred million mouths want food
And a hundred million human needs
And longings go half supplied.

menA million jobless men –
Idle, hungry, roofless, shabby men
With ten million women and children dependent upon them,
Wandering aimlessly over twenty-three hundred million acres
Of land that is mostly fertile and mostly idle –
Idle, vacant, unused land – and a starving people!

A million jobless men –
In an idle, vacant, unused land broad enough
To house without crowding every human being in the world
Rich enough to support
All the earth’s population
Its own few people but partly housed, fed and clothed!

A million jobless men –
Clerks, bookkeepers, artisans, laborers, all the professions –
Men with nothing to do, who can find no work,
‘While two million stunted children labor in mine and mill
And needy women must sell their sex for food –
A million or maybe six million jobless men!

A million jobless men –
And ten million poorly paid men who get barely enough to sustain their families,
And a million women on the streets, and a million hungry children,
Plus a million mortgaged homes, and a million business bankrupts –
On twenty-three hundred million acres of inexhaustible richness not a thousandth part of which has been touched!

A million jobless men –
And twenty million human dolts content to live in hell –
To lecture, write, legislate, investigate, resolve, and vote
To “cure unemployment!” with a learned President
And a cabinet and a congress of economic students
Who institute Employment Bureaus!! to feed the hungry, jobless, idle men tramping over idle, vacant, undeveloped land!

A million jobless men –
And ten million legislators, judges, detectives, soldiers, sheriffs, constables, and policemen
With clubs, guns, bayonets, legal process, penal codes, prisons, handcuffs, dungeons, and gallows
To keep these million jobless men from going on the idle, naked, fertile acres
And feeding themselves, their women, and children!

A million jobless men –
In 1914
Now most all at work making death machinery to blow each other to hell!
The land still idle – and a million wage slaves making murder machinery!

From Songs of the Great Adventure by Luke North, a.k.a. James Hartness Griffes, 1917. Thanks to wealthandwant.com

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