American Poetry 1922/Portrait of a Machine
PORTRAIT OF A MACHINE
What nudity is beautiful as this
Obedient monster purring as its toil;
These naked iron muscles dripping oil
And the sure-fingered rods that never miss.
This long and shining flank of metal is
Magic that greasy labor cannot spoil;
While this vast engine that could rend the soil
Conceals its fury with a gentle hiss.
It does not vent its loathing, does not turn
Upon its makers with destroying hate.
It bears a deeper malice; lives to earn
Its master's bread and laughs to see this great
Lord of the earth, who rules but cannot learn,
Become the slave of what his slaves create.
This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1928.
The longest-living author of this work died in 1977, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 45 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.