Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MACHINE, by MAXWELL STRUTHERS BURT

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE MACHINE, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Once in a dreary place where women die
Last Line: Find only this, a respite from the loom?
Alternate Author Name(s): Burt, Struthers
Subject(s): Death; Labor & Laborers; Mills & Millers; Women; Dead, The; Work; Workers

ONCE in a dreary place where women die,
I watched a work-worn spirit leave the clay,
And as the breath came quick, in grotesque way,
Her fingers thumbed the air, and one foot high
Pressed up and down the coverlet awry.
The pale nurse nodded; "Every hour each day,
So in the mills, poor soul, she earned her pay.
I wonder will she like the open sky?"
O woman form, that God hath made divine,
So cunningly contrived of blood and flesh and breath,
That you should spin your soul away in twine,
And at the end card wool with waiting Death!
Will such as you within the silent tomb,
Find only this, a respite from the loom?

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