A Psalm of Labouring Life

Franklin P. Adams 1881 (Chicago, Illinois) – 1960 (New York City, New York)

Tell me not, in doctored numbers,
Life is but a name for work!
For the labour that encumbers
Me I wish that I could shirk.

Life is phony! Life is rotten!
And the wealthy have no soul;
Why should you be picking cotton,
Why should I be mining coal?

Not employment and not sorrow
Is my destined end or way;
But to act that each tomorrow
Finds me idler than today.

Work is long, and plutes are lunching;
Money is the thing I crave;
But my heart continues punching
Funeral time-clocks to the grave.

In the world's uneven battle,
In the swindle known as life,
Be not like the stockyard's cattle--
Stick your partner with the knife!

Trust no boss, however pleasant!
Capital is but a curse!
Strike,--strike in the living present!
Fill, oh fill the bulging purse.!

Lives of strikers all remind us
We can make our lives a crime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Bills for double overtime.

Charges that, perhaps another,
Working for a stingy ten
Bucks a day, some mining brother
Seeing, shall walk out again.

Let us, then, be up and striking,
Discontent with all of it;
Still undoing, still disliking,
Learn to labour--and to quit.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Franklin P. Adams

Franklin Pierce Adams was an American columnist known as Franklin P. Adams and by his initials F. P. A.. Famed for his wit, he is best known for his newspaper column, "The Conning Tower", and his appearances as a regular panelist on radio's Information Please. A prolific writer of light verse, he was a member of the Algonquin Round Table of the 1920s and 1930s. more…

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    "A Psalm of Labouring Life" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 29 Sep. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/14094/a-psalm-of-labouring-life>.

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