I WOULD FAIN DIE A DRY DEATH - A. H. Reginald Buller Poems


Poems » a. h. reginald buller » i would fain die a dry death


The American public is patient,
  The American public is slow,
The American public will stand as much
  As any public I know.
We submit to be killed by our railroads,
  We submit to be fooled by our press,
We can stand as much government scandal
  As any folks going, I guess,
We can bear bad air in the subway,
  We can bear quick death in the street,
But we are a little particular
  About the things we eat.

It is not so much that it kills us -–
  We are used to being killed;
But we like to know what fills us
  When we pay for being filled
When we pay the Beef Trust prices,
  As we must, or go without,
It is not that we grudge the money
  But we grudge the horrid doubt.
Is it ham or trichinosis?
  Can a label command belief?
Is it pork we have purchased, or poison?
  Is it tuberculosis or beef?

There is really a choice of diseases,
  To any one, little or big;
And no man really pleases
  To die of a long dead pig.
We take our risks as we’re able,
  On elevator and train,
But to sit in peace at the table
  And to be seized with sudden pain
When we are at home and happy –-
Is really against the grain.

And besides admitting the poison,
  Admitting we all must die,
Accepting the second-hand sickness
  From a cholera-smitten stye;
Patiently bearing the murder,
  Amiable, meek, inert, --
We do rise up and remonstrate
  Against the Packingtown dirt.
Let there be death in the dinner,
  Subtle and unforeseen,
But O, Mr. Packer, in packing our death,
  Won’t you please to pack it clean!