I am the voice of the voiceless.
Through me the dumb shall speak,
Till the deaf worlds ear be made to hear
The wrongs of this wordless weak.
From the street, from cage, from kennel,
From stable, and zoo, the wail
Of my tortured kin proclaims the sin
Of the mighty against the frail.
Oh, shame on the praying churchman
With his unstalled steed at the door,
Where the winters beat with snow and sleet,
And the summer sun rays pour!
Oh, shame on the mothers of mortals
Who have not stopped to teach
Of the sorrow that lies in death-dumb eyes
The sorrow that has no speech !
The same force formed the sparrow
That fashioned man, the king.
The God of the whole gave a spark of soul
To furred and feathered thing.
And I am my brothers keeper
And I will fight his fight,
And speak the word for beast and bird
Till the world shall set things right.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Akron Beacon Journal 11 Nov. 1905: 7.
Courtesy of John M. Freiermuth
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