Evening at Occoquan. Rain pelts the workhouse roof.
The prison matrons are sewing together for the Red Cross
The women prisoners are going to bed in two long rows.
Some of the suffrage pickets lie reading in the dim light.
Through the dark, above the rain, rings out a cry.
We listen at the windows. (Oh, those cries from punishment cells!)
A voice calls one of us by name.
“Miss Burns! Miss Burns! Will you see that I have a drink of water?”
Lucy Burns arises; slips on the course blue prison gown.
Over it her swinging hair, red-gold, throws a regal mantle.
She begs the night-watch to give the girl water.
One of the matrons leaves her war-bandages; we see her hasten to the cell.
The light in it goes out.
The voice despairing cries:
“She has taken away the cup and she will not bring me water.”
Rain pours on the roof. The suffragists lie awake.
The matrons work busily for the Red Cross.
I watched a river of women,
Rippling purple, white and golden,
Stream toward the National Capitol.
Along its border,
Like a purple flower floating,
Moved a young woman, worn, wraithlike.
All eyes alight, keenly observing the marchers.
Out there on the curb, she looked so little, so lonely,
Few appeared even to see her;
No one saluted her.
Yet commander was she of the column, its leader;
She was the spring whence arose that irresistible river of women
Streaming steadily towards the National Capitol.