Nonfiction > Upton Sinclair, ed. > The Cry for Justice
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Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968).
The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest.  1915.
 
The Flower Factory

By Florence Wilkinson Evans

(Contemporary American poetess)
 
LIZABETTA, Marianina, Fiametta, Teresina,
They are winding stems of roses, one by one, one by one,
Little children who have never learned to play;
Teresina softly crying that her fingers ache to-day;
Tiny Fiametta nodding, when the twilight slips in, gray.        5
High above the clattering street, ambulance and fire-gong beat,
They sit, curling crimson petals, one by one, one by one.
 
Lizabetta, Marianina, Fiametta, Teresina,
They have never seen a rose-bush nor a dew-drop in the sun.
They will dream of the vendetta, Teresina, Fiametta,        10
Of a Black Hand and a Face behind a grating;
They will dream of cotton petals, endless, crimson, suffocating,
Never of a wild rose thicket or the singing of a cricket,
But the ambulance will bellow through the wanness of their dreams,
And their tired lids will flutter with the street’s hysteric screams.        15
 
Lizabetta, Marianina, Fiametta, Teresina,
They are winding stems of roses, one by one, one by one.
Let them have a long, long play-time, Lord of Toil, when toil is done,
Fill their baby hands with roses, joyous roses of the sun.
 
 
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