The Clerk

The unsoiled hand, the sleek, black coat,
The senile, ledger-haunted hours,
The knowledge that my freeman's vote
Is humbly cast to please 'the powers,'
A futile spite against the mass,
A small, weak hate of Labor's side,
These privileges of Our Class
I cherish with a puny pride.

The sycophancy of the snob,
The day-long cringe, the life-long fear
That I may lose a steady job
That 'job genteel' I hold so dear
These be the splendid attributes
Of one who yearns to emulate
His master; and all work-soiled brutes
Regards with mean, reflected hate.

Not mine the arrogance of wealth,
No pride in honest labor mine;
But while I still hold life and health
My pet ambition is to shine
A small, pale star that faintly glows
In Fat's impressive firmament,
The while I earn mere food and clothes,
And help the boss to cent. per cent.

Ambition? E'en my timid soul
Dreams of a day when I shall rule;
When I may heckle and control
The trembling slaves of desk and stool;
When I shall be of Fat myself
Who now but dangles at his skirt.
A magnate! Armed with pow'r and pelf.
Meet recompense for eating dirt.

I mark the lowly toiler rage.
'Resist!' he cries. 'Resist! Unite!'
The while I sue for patronage -
A deferential parasite.
Then to my aid comes Pride of Class,
I take my stand beside the Boss.
I earn his praise! .... Although, alas,
His gain, mayhap, will be my loss.

For who would risk a master's ire
That deity who rules my life,
That god who may, in vengeance dire,
Snatch happiness from 'child' and wife?
'Rights!' shout the horny-handed. 'Rights!'
The dolts defy the pow'rs that be.
While I watch through the restless nights
And tremble for my salary.

Oh. what rash madness moves these clods?
E'en my own fellow serfs, alas,
Speak treason 'gainst the money-gods
And turn black traitors to Our Class.
Our Class! That genteel, cultured band,
Well-dressed, respectable, elite
The servile mind, the soft white hand
Patrician class of Collins~street!

Cohorts of Collins-street, arise!
O legions, wake in Finders-land!
Let each pale hero rcognise
His class, and fight with might and mian.
Fight for the master sturdily!
What though his profit be our loss?
And let our watchword ever be,
Or Class! OUR BILLET, and OUR BOSS!

The sleek, black coat, the unsoiled hand,
The proud assertion of the worm.
Behold the Class! Oh, noble band!
Mild, desk-worn yoemen of 'The Firm.'
With swagger of the over-dressed.
With meekness of the underpaid,
They flout the plaint of the oppressed,
And stare at Liberty, afraid.

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"The Clerk" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 13 Dec. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/6603/the-clerk>.

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