by Edmund Vance Cooke

from The People’s Advocate, Adelaide, Australia, 1937

You may tinker with the tariff and make some simple gains,
You may put on tolls or take ’em off, inducing party pains;
You may monkey with the money, but the lack of it remains,
For the Mother of monopoly is laughing as she reigns.

Rent! rent! who is it pays the rent?
A dozen days in every month the worker’s back is bent;
Figure it in dollar bills or work it by percent,
But with his dozen days he pays just rent, rent, rent.

You may “minimum” the wages, you may let the women vote,
You may regulate the railroads with a legal antidote,
You may jail some Rockefeller, or may get a Morgan’s goat,
But the Mother of Monopoly is laughing in her throat.

Rent! rent! who is it pays the rent?
A hundred days in every year a business profit’s spent;
Figure it In “overhead,” or state it by percent,
But all your hundred days are gone for rent, rent, rent.

You may Institute Foundations, you may educate the dubs,
You may librarize the Bread Line, and establish Slummy Clubs;
You may ostracize the Demon Rum and eugenize the cubs,
But the Mother of Monopoly is smiling at your snubs.

Rent! rent! who is it pays the rent?
A score of years in life you spent to get one document;
From your cradle to your coffin you must bow to its assent,
And that’s your little, old receipt for rent, rent, rent.

I look across the rented world and idle land I see,
Whose owner doesn’t work it, for he’s working you and me,
And on the first of every month all tenants bow the knee,
And pay the rent of vacant land, in great or small degree.

The worker’s hands are busy and the business back is bent;
The idle lands advance in price and every single cent,
Of that advance is paid by us in rent, rent, rent.

(Thanks to


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *