“To sin by silence, when we should protest makes cowards out of men.”

The opening lines of a piercing poem titled “Protest” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (November 5, 1850–October 30, 1919), from her 1914 book Poems of Problems written at the peak of the Women’s Suffrage movement and just as WWI was about to erupt.

To sin by silence, when we should protest,
Makes cowards out of men. The human race
Has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised
Against injustice, ignorance, and lust,
The inquisition yet would serve the law,
And guillotines decide our least disputes.

The few who dare, must speak and speak again
To right the wrongs of many. Speech, thank God,
No vested power in this great day and land
Can gag or throttle. Press and voice may cry
Loud disapproval of existing ills;
May criticise oppression and condemn
The lawlessness of wealth-protecting laws
That let the children and childbearers toil
To purchase ease for idle millionaires.

Therefore I do protest against the boast
Of independence in this mighty land.
Call no chain strong, which holds one rusted link.
Call no land free, that holds one fettered slave.
Until the manacled slim wrists of babes
Are loosed to toss in childish sport and glee,
Until the mother bears no burden, save
The precious one beneath her heart, until
God’s soil is rescued from the clutch of greed
And given back to labor, let no man
Call this the land of freedom.

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Hi, I’m Paul Myer. Thank you for visiting my website. I hope you enjoy my writing and photography. If you want to stay connected, please subscribe to receive posts via email.

2 thoughts on “Protest

  1. “Call no chain strong, that holds one rusted link.”
    That is quite a thought provoking line….
    Hope you, Keiko san and Little T are all doing well.

    • Hey guys, my sincere apologies. I have been less consistent with my web site and the app stopped noting that a comment was posted! I really appreciate your reading and the feedback. We are safe, healthy and very grateful to be here and looking forward to our move. The new “mansion” is also in Adachi, about 1 mile from our current location, in the Kurihara district. We will use the same station. It is a very convenient and quiet older neighborhood, nice parks nearby with many small local eating/drinking options. A 14 story building with just 3 units per floor, our 6th floor place is a nice 2BR end unit with pleasant urban landscape views. We are having some remodeling and improvement work done. Keiko did a fabulous job in finding it and handling all arrangements. We expect to be living in our new home around July 25. Peace, p

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