Thursday, January 30, 2020

Poetry Friday -- Some Things Never Change

Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born on July 3, 1860

The Socialist and the Suffragist
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Said the Socialist to the Suffragist:
“My cause is greater than yours!
You only work for a Special Class,
We work for the gain of the General Mass,
Which every good ensures!”

Said the Suffragist to the Socialist:
“You underrate my Cause!
While women remain a Subject Class,
You never can move the General Mass,
With your Economic Laws!”

Said the Socialist to the Suffragist:
“You misinterpret facts!
There is no room for doubt or schism
In Economic Determinism–
It governs all our acts!”

Said the Suffragist to the Socialist:
“You men will always find
That this old world will never move
More swiftly in its ancient groove
While women stay behind!”

“A lifted world lifts women up,”
The Socialist explained.
“You cannot lift the world at all
While half of it is kept so small,”
The Suffragist maintained.

The world awoke, and tartly spoke:
“Your work is all the same:
Work together or work apart,
Work, each of you, with all your heart–
Just get into the game!”

This poem is in the public domain.

Does this bickering sound familiar? 
"MY side is right!" 
"No, MY side is right!!"

I'm with the world -- "Stop fighting and get to work -- make things better!" (...she said in her sternest, tartest Teacher Voice.)

Jone has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week at Deowriter.


  1. I'm reading "Lady Clementine" now & it has incorporated her thoughts about the suffragettes & her push for Winston to do well by them. The poem is terrific, "love "While half of it is kept so small,”"

  2. What a great poem, Mary Lee. Thanks for sharing.
    Love these lines: “You cannot lift the world at all
    While half of it is kept so small,”
    Peace to all!

  3. Hear, hear! Fabulous poem, and yes, all of it sounds all too familiar.

  4. Yes some things remain the same. Now it is time to get to work to bring the change we want.

  5. Use your Teacher Voice for good! Sing it, Mary Lee!

  6. Wow, what an excellent poem. "Hush up and get in there and get busy!" says a needy world. Hear, hear.

  7. Mary Lee, this speaks to me because of that Frederick Douglass graphic biography I mentioned. Douglass and the lead suffragettes of his day disagreed about how to create change, and who for. Thanks for sharing this poem.

  8. You are so right, we need to keep working, keep working, keep working...

  9. "Hear Hear" let's go with the world's voice, "get to work -- make things better!" Terrific, let's do it! Thanks Mary Lee!

  10. I like the last line, "just get into the game." It's time we got to work. I prefer the work of education. Let's go!

  11. And the beat goes on... what a good old poem! Thanks for this... and yes, time to tend my own garden.

  12. I like these wise words from the world, which recognizes difference in perspective and focus, but also how each one's work is necessary.

    "Work together or work apart,
    Work, each of you, with all your heart"

    They remind me of that line from THE LORAX: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not."

  13. My husband loves to tell me that I can't use my teacher voice or look outside of the classroom. Ha! You keep using that teacher voice to encourage us to take a stand and get to work with world.

  14. What a fabulous poem--I love that she used Economic Determinism as a rhyme. And so much truth--both in how we can be so self-righteous and how important it is to work with all our hearts. Thanks for sharing this.

  15. I don't think society will ever learn as long as we put ourselves above all others. Great poem. Thanks for sharing!

  16. What a great poem, Mary Lee. Keep on using that tart teacher voice to urge us all to meaningful action!

  17. Amen. We need that Teacher Voice more than ever!

  18. This poem is a great find, Mary Lee. "Work together or work apart,/Work, each of you, with all your heart–/
    Just get into the game!” is great advice!

  19. What a fab find, Mary Lee. I remember that teacher voice.


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