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Ballads and Lyrics of Socialism 1883-1908 . Nesbit, E. (Edith), 1858–1924.
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page: 30

The Sick Journalist

THROB, throb, throb, weariness, ache, and pain! One’s heart had one’s eyes on fire, And never a spark in one’s brain. The stupid paper and ink, That might be turned into gold, Lie here unused, Since one’s brain refused To do its tricks—as of old. One can suffer still, indeed, But one cannot think any more. There’s no fire in the grate, No food on the plate, And the East‐wind shrieks through the door. The sunshine grins in the street: It used to cheer me like wine, Now it only quickens my brain’s sick beat; And the children are crying for bread to eat And I cannot write a line! Molly, my pet—don’t cry, Father can’t write if you do— And anyhow, if you only knew, It’s hard enough as it is. There, give old daddy a kiss, And cuddle down on the floor; We’ll have some dinner by‐and‐by. Now, fool, try! Try once more! Hold your head tight in your hands, Bring your will to bear! The children are starving—your little ones— While you sit fooling there. Beth, with her golden hair Moll, with her rough, brown head— here they are—see! page: 31 Against your knee, Waiting there to be fed!— I cannot bear their eyes. Their soft little kisses burn— They will cry again In vain, in vain, For the food that I cannot earn. If I could only write Just half a column or so On ‘The Prospects of Trade,’ or ‘The Irish Question,’ or ‘Why are Wages so Low?’— The printers are waiting for copy now, I’ve had my next week’s screw, There’ll be nothing more till I’ve written something, God! what am I to do? If I could only write! The paper glares up white Like the cursed white of the heavy stone Under which she lies alone; And the ink is black like death, And the room and the window are black. Molly, Molly—the sun’s gone out, Cannot you fetch it back? Did I frighten my little ones? Never mind, daddy dropped asleep— Cuddle down closely, creep Close to his knee And daddy will see If he can’t do his writing. Vain! I shall never write again! Oh, God! was it like a love divine To make their lives hang on my pen When I cannot write a line?
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