In the spirit of a New Year. –Michael
City of power and city of might,
Of plunder and passion and woe and delight,
The sound of your voice is a trumpeter’s blare,
A challenge that’s flung on the palpitant air,
A paean of battle, a taunt, and a call
To join in the conflict and conquer — or fall,
To thrust and to parry, to feint and to lunge;
So — into the tumult I plunge!
I fear you? — the city of opulent dreams —
Because of your vastness that pulses and teems?
Why, here are my hands, they are young, they are strong
As any two hands in the thick of the throng;
And here are my eyes and my body and brain
Alert for the glory and gold I shall gain.
So — fearless I face you, O huge, roaring brute,
Besotted with splendor and glutted with loot!
What peril of jungle or desert or sea
Has more of a thrill than your dangers to me,
Or greater romance than the conflict that rolls
On your vast battlefield of a myriad souls?
I cry you defiance! Your masters and slaves,
Your wasters and delvers and dreamers and knaves,
I war for your palaces, pleasures and pelf;
I fear you no whit — for I fear not myself ;
I face you and fight you, nor whimper for aid,
Since you crawl to the feet of the man unafraid!
From Songs of the Workaday World, published by the George H. Doran Company, New York, 1915.
Songs of the Workaday World is available for viewing and downloading (as a pdf) at the Internet Archive; the collection of poems was made available by the University of Michigan, by the University of California, and also by the University of California Libraries. Songs is also available via Google Books.