They are waking, waking, waking,
   In the East and in the West;
They are throwing wide the windows to the sun;
And they see the dawn is breaking,
   And they quiver with unrest,
For they know their work is waiting to be done.

They are waking in the city,
   They are waking on the farm;
They are waking in the boudoir and the mill;
And their hearts are full of pity
   As they sound the loud alarm
For the sleepers who in darkness slumber still.

In the guarded harem prison,
   Where they smother under veils,
And all echoes of the world are walled away,
Though the sun has not yet risen,
   Yet the ancient darkness pales,
And the sleepers in their slumber dream of day.

Oh, their dreams shall grow in splendor
   Till each sleeper wakes and stirs;
Till she breaks from old traditions and is free.
And the world shall rise and render
   Unto Woman what is hers,
And welcome in the race that is to be.

Unto Woman, God, the Maker,
   Gave the secret of His plan;
It is written out in cipher on her soul.
From the darkness you must take her,
   To the light of day, O Man,
Would you know the mighty meaning of the scroll.

Editor's Note--The frontispiece on page 156 was inspired by and illustrates the above poem.

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Delineator 76 (Sept. 1910): 168.

Back to Poem Index