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We Are the Little Men

We are the little men who made
An earth, a heaven, and a god;
Devils, and martyrs unafraid
Who bled, and blossom in the sod.
Altars, and smoke of sacrifice
To veil our hot, desirous eyes.

With kisses from our praying lips
We burnt our lusts upon your nights,
Touching your breasts with finger tips
Too avid of their quick delights.
And for your wounds a Christ who bleeds,
And long cold hours to tell your beads.

Order and law and sheltered ease,
And little painted jails of stone;
Soft smiles, and supple knightly knees,
All this was given you to own;
And with our little hands of clay
We soiled the flowers about your way.

Children you gave us for our pride.
Young flesh of pleasure, blood of pain;
So were you, Mother – sanctified;
We knelt us to our gods again,
The Mart, the Furnace, and the Guns
Who drink the blood of all your sons.

We are the little men who bind
The dreams we may not understand
With words, that you must stumble, blind,
Along the paths our fathers planned;
By little laws found meet and good
Trip the young feet of motherhood.

We are your masters, priests, and kings;
One law alone, the law we give;
There is no song a woman sings,
No vision, and no dreams that live.
O, dust of all the Woman-dead,
Hide thou our shame when we are sped!

From the New York Tribune, August 3, 1919. By Stephen Southwold.

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