Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 4. SURELY THE TIME WILL COME, by EDWARD CARPENTER



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TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 4. SURELY THE TIME WILL COME, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Surely the time will come when humanity will refuse to be diseased any longer
Last Line: Warders and gaolers.
Subject(s): Humanity


SURELY the time will come when humanity will refuse to be diseased any
longer.
This list of filthy and hideous complaints,—too filthy to be calmly
spoken of—these small-poxes, typhoids, choleras, cancers, tumors,
tubercles,—dropsy, diabetes, uraemia—all preventible, and easy enough
to prevent;
And yet—incredible though it seems—men and women still tolerating
and condoning them;
Men and women who pride themselves on their culture, refinement,
punctiliousness of nose, and so forth—and who would turn up the latter at
the sight of a pig and a few fowls in an Irishman's cabin—actually
tolerating in their own persons the perpetual presence of the most disgusting
organisms;
And other men and women, through sheer ignorance, believing such a state of
affairs to be necessary.
Surely the time will come when to be diseased, to spread disease around
one, or transmit it to descendants,
To live willingly in the conditions that produce disease, or not
strenuously to fight against such conditions,
Will be looked on as a crime—both of the individual and of society.
For since a little self-control, since a clean and elementary diet, pure
water, openness of the body to sun and air, a share of honest work, and some
degree of mental peace and largesse, are the perfectly simple conditions of
health, and are, or ought to be, accessible to everybody—
To neglect these is sheer treason;
While to surrender them out of fear (should one stick to them) of being
robbed of other things far less precious, is to be a fool, as well as a coward.
Surely the time will come when people, seeing how obvious and simple is the
problem of human life,
Will refuse (even at the bidding of the Parson, the Police-man, Mrs.
Grundy, and the commercial Slave-drivers and Tax-collectors) to live the lives
of idiots;
Will refuse to do other work than that which they like, and which they feel
to be really needed;
Will cease to believe that their own well-being can only be maintained at
the cost of the Fear, Torment, and Slaughter of the animals, and the Hanging and
Imprisonment of men;
And will waste the hours no more in elaborately preparing food which, when
prepared, does but rot the vitals of those who consume it, and in schemes of
money-making and 'business' which but destroy their souls.
The time will come surely when we shall cease to burden our limbs and
becloud our skins with garments, the major part of which are useless, unless as
a breeding ground of ill-health, deformity, and indecency;
Shall cease to build walls and fortifications of property and possession
each round ourselves as against the others—deliberately confining so and
crucifying the great god of love within us—
And shall at last liberate our minds and bodies from that funny old
lazar-house of the centuries, of which none but ourselves, after all, are the
warders and gaolers.





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