The Space Between: Literature and Culture 1914-1945Main MenuThe Space Between: Literature and Culture 1914–1945Volume 17 | 2021 | General IssueLabor in the Space Between | 2022 Conference Postlude (more things!)ArchiveSubmission GuidelinesReviews and Review EssaysEditors | Editorial Board | Advisory CommitteeCFP: 2023 General IssueThe Space Between Society
Joy in the Woods (April 10, 1920. Signed as Hugh Hope). Claude McKay. Workers' Dreadnought.
1media/Claude McKay Joy in the Woods Workers Dreadnought_thumb.png2021-03-01T18:52:20-08:00Jennifer Poulos Nesbitt62bc3cb599d3c15be3205b879d3578d58552b09254011Joy in the Woods (April 10, 1920. Signed as Hugh Hope). Claude McKay. Workers' Dreadnought.plain2021-03-01T18:52:20-08:00Jennifer Poulos Nesbitt62bc3cb599d3c15be3205b879d3578d58552b092
Joy in the Woods (April 10, 1920. Signed as Hugh Hope)
There is joy in the woods just now, The leaves are whispers of song, And the birds make mirth on the bough And music the whole day long. And God! to dwell in the town In these springlike summer days, On my brow an unfading frown And hate in my heart always—
A machine out of gear, aye, tired, Yet forced to go on—for I’m hired.
Just forced to go on through fear, For every day I must eat And find ugly clothes to wear, And bad shoes to hurt my feet And a shelter for work-drugged sleep! A mere drudge! but what can one do? A man that’s a man cannot weep! Suicide? A quitter? Oh, no!
But a slave should never grow tired, Whom the masters have kindly hired. But oh! for the woods, the flowers Of natural, sweet perfume, The heartening, summer showers And the smiling shrubs in bloom, Dust-free, dew-tinted at morn, The fresh and life-giving air, The billowing waves of corn And the birds’ notes rich and clear: —
For a man-machine toil-tired May crave beauty too—though he’s hired.