Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Factory Windows Are Always Broken - Vachel Lindsay

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 chapel-window
The bitter, snarling, derisive stone.

Factory windows are always broken.
Something or other is going wrong.
Something is rotten - I think, in Denmark.
End of the factory-window song.

Vachel Lindsay was a poet most famous for inventing what he referred to as "singing poetry" where the poem is meant to be chanted or sung.  He traveled, giving rousing readings of his poems, becoming known as the "Prairie Troubadour."  I feel that keeping that in mind while you read this, so you can give it a bit of a dramatic reading in your head.  The poem has a strong rhythm that makes it easy to recite.

The poem itself doesn't have too much meat or substance to it, but I think it shows a good deal about our attitude towards the working class.  I know I've certainly seen factory windows smashed up, and that's in today's day and age.  In the time when Lindsay was writing (early 20th century), working conditions were much worse, and his choice of the word "derisive" to describe the rock that smashes those windows is perfect.

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