Claude McKay's Early Poetry (1911-1922): A Digital Collection

Song of the New Soldier and Worker


We are tired, tired, tired—we are work-weary and war-weary;
What though the skies are soft-blue and the birds still sing
And the balmy air of day is like wine? Life is dreary
​And the whole wide world is sick and suffering.

​We are weary, weary, weary, sad and tired no longer
​Will we go on as before, glad to be the willing tools
​Of the hard and heartless few, the favoured and the stronger,
​Who have strength to crush and kill, for we are fools.

​We will calmly fold our arms sore from laboring and aching,
​We will not still feed and guard the hungry, hideous, huge machine
​That yawns with ugly mouth, performs its grim task of life-breaking
​Like a fat whore, coarse and brazen and obscene.

O, to pull the thing to pieces! O, to wreck it all and smash
​With the power and the will that only holy hate can give;
​Even though our broken bodies may be caught in the crash—
Even so—that children yet unborn may live!

--Workers Dreadnought, April 3, 1920. Signed as "Hugh Hope"

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  1. Song of the New Soldier and Worker