from "Life in the Iron Mills"
idiosyncrasy of this town is smoke. It rolls sullenly in slow folds
from the great chimneys of the iron-foundries, and settles down in
black, slimy pools on the muddy streets. Smoke on the wharves, smoke on
the dingy boats, on the yellow river,--clinging on a coating of greasy
soot to the house-front, the two faded poplars, the faces of the
passers-by. The long train of mules, dragging masses of pig-iron
through the narrow street, have a foul vapor hanging to their reeking
sides. Here, inside, is a little broken figure of an angel pointing
upwardfrom the mantel-shelf; but even its wings are covered with smoke,
clotted and black. Smoke everywhere! A dirty canary chirps desolately
in a cage beside me. Its dream of green fields and sunshine is a very
old dream,--almost worn out, I think. "
Mills full text:
from "To a Locomotive in Winter":
. . . Thy black cylindric body,
and silvery steel,
Thy ponderous side-bars, parallel
connecting rods, gyrating,
shuttling at thy sides,
Thy metrical, now swelling pant
and roar, now
tapering in the distance,
Thy great protruding head-light
fix'd in front,
Thy long, pale, floating
with delicate purple,
The dense and murky clouds
Thy knitted frame, thy springs and
valves. . .
Type of the modern\emdash emblem
of motion and
power--pulse of the continent. . . .
Law of thyself complete, thine own
(No sweetness debonair of tearful
harp or glib
Launch'd o'er the prairies wide,
the free skies unpent and glad and strong.
I like to see it* lap the Miles--
And lick the Valleys up--
And stop to feed itself at Tanks--
And then--prodigious step
Around a Pile of Mountains--
And supercilious peer
In Shanties--by the sides of
And then a Quarry pare
To fit its Ribs
And crawl between
Complaining all the while
In horrid--hooting stanza
Then chase itself down Hill--
And neigh like Boanerges--
Then--punctual as a Star
Stop--docile and omnipotent
At its own stable door.
Dickinson Life Poem No. 43, full text
from The Jungle
Jurgis Rudkus and his family have
from Lithuania to Chicago, where he finds work in the stockyards where
livestock are butchered and packed:
". . . They sat and stared out of
They were on a street that seemed to go on forever, mile after
mile--thirty four of them, if they had known it--and each side of one
uninterrupted row of wretched little two-story fram buildings. Down
every side street they could see, it was the same,--never a hill and
never a hollow, but always the same endless vista of ugly and dirty
little wooden buildings. Here and there would be a bridge crossing a
filthy creek, with hard-baked mud shores and dingy sheds and docks
along it; here and there would be a railroad crossing, with a tangle of
switches, and locomotives puffing, and rattling freight-cars filing by;
here and there would be a great factory, a dingy building with
innumerable windows in it, a making filthy the earth beneath. But after
each of these interruptions, th e desolate procession would begin
again--the procession of dreary little buildings."
In the packing and canning
processes, the meat
companies chemically doctored and processed the meat. For example,
. There was never the least attention paid to what was cut up for
sausage; there would come all the way back from Europe old sausage that
had been rejected and was mouldy and white--it would be dosed with
borax and glycerine, and dumped into the hoppers, and made over again
for consumption. There would be meat that had tumbled out on the floor,
in the dirt and sawdust, where the workers had tramped and spit
uncounted billions of germs. There would be meat stored in great piles
in the rooms; and the water from leaky roofs would drip over it, and
thousands of rats would race about on it. It was too dark in those
storage places to see well, but a man could run his hand over these
piles of meat and sweep off handfuls of the dried dung of rats. These
rats were nuisances, and the packers would put poisoned bread out for
them; they would die, and then rats, bread, and meat would go into the
hoppers together. . . and the man who did the shovelling would not
trouble to lift out a rat when he saw one--there were things that went
into the sausage in comparison with which a poisoned rat was a tidbit.
. . . "
Sinclair, from The
Jungle, full text,
[Marinetti was an Italian poet and
Futurism, one of the modernist movements (along with Fauvism,
Post-Impresionism, Cubism, Expressionism, De Stijl, and Surrealism) in
painting and literature.]
1. We will sing of the love of
habits of energy and temerity.
2. Courage, audacity, revolt shall
elements of our poetry. . . .
4. We assert that the magnificence
of the world
has been enriched by a new beauty, the beauty of speed. A racing car
with its bonnet [hood] draped in enormous pipes like fire-spitting
serpents. . .a roaring racing car that goes like a machine gun is more
beautiful than the Winged Victory of Samothrace [a famous Greek
statue]. . . .
9. We will glorify war, the only
hygiene of the
world--militarism, patriotism, the destructive gestures of anarchists.
. . contempt of women.
We will destroy the museums, libraries, and academies of every kind,
and will combat moralism, feminism, and all vile opportunist
Futurist Manifesto, full text:
from Babbit (1922)
"The towers of Zenith aspired
above the morning
mist; austere towers of cement and limestone, sturdy as cliffs and
delicate as silver rods. They were neither citadels nor churches, but
frankly and beautifully office-buildings.
The mist took pity on the fretted
the earlier generations: the Post Office with its shingle-tortured
mansard, the red brick minerets of hulking old houses. . . .The city
was full of such grotesqueries, but the clean towers were thrusting
them from the business center, and on the farther hills were shining
new houses, homes--they seemed--for laughter and tranquility.
Over a concrete bridge fled a
limousine of long
sleek hood and noiseless engine. . . . Below the bridge curved a
railroad, a maze of green and crimson lights. The New York Flyer boomed
past, and twenty lines of polished steel leaped into the glare.
In one of the skyscrapers the
wires of the
Associated Press were closing down. . . . Cues of men with lunch-boxes
clumped toward the immensity of new factories, sheets of glass and
hollow tile, glittering shops where five thousand men worked beneath
one roof, pouring out . . . honest wares. . . . The whistles rolled out
in greeting a chorus cheerful as the April dawn; the song of labor in a
city built--it seemed--for giants."
"Factory Windows Are Always
Factory windows are always broken.
Somebody's always throwing bricks,
Somebody's always heaving cinders,
Playing ugly Yahoo tricks.
Factory windows are always broken.
Other windows are let alone.
No one throws through the
The bitter, snarling stone.
Factory windows are always broken.
Something or other is going wrong.
Something is rotten--I think, in
of the factory-window song.
Windows Are Always Broken", full text