Sweet Briars of the Stairways

by Vachel Lindsay

We are happy all the time
Even when we fight:
Sweet briars of the stairways,
Gay fairies of the grime;
We, who are playing to-night.

"Our feet are in the gutters,
Our eyes are sore with dust,
But still our eyes are bright.
The wide street roars and mutters --
We know it works because it must --
We, who are playing to-night!

"Dirt is everlasting. -- We never, never fear it.
Toil is never ceasing. -- We will play until we near it.
Tears are never ending. -- When once real tears have come;

"When we see our people as they are --
Our fathers -- broken, dumb --

Our mothers -- broken, dumb --
The weariest of women and of men;
Ah -- then our eyes will lose their light --
Then we will never play again --
We, who are playing to-night."
View All poems by Vachel Lindsay

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