The Voices of the People
Oh! I hear the people calling through the day time and the night time,
They are calling, they are crying for the coming of the right time.
It behooves you, men and women, it behooves you to be heeding,
For there lurks a note of menace underneath their plaintive pleading.
Let the land usurpers listen, let the greedy-hearted ponder,
On the meaning of the murmur, rising here and swelling yonder,
Swelling louder, waxing stronger, like a storm-fed stream that courses
Through the valleys, down abysses, growing, gaining with new forces.
Day by day the river widens, that great river of opinion,
And its torrent beats and plunges at the base of greed’s dominion.
Though you dam it by oppression and fling golden bridges o’er it,
Yet the day and hour advances when in fright you’ll flee before it.
Yes, I hear the people calling, through the night time and the day time,
Wretched toilers in life’s autumn, weary young ones in life’s May time –
They are crying, they are calling for their share of work and pleasure;
You are heaping high your coffers while you give them scanty measure, –
You have stolen God’s wide acres, just to glut your swollen purses –
Oh! restore them to His children ere their pleading turns to curses.
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox