Union Songs

The Agitator

A Poem by L.J. Villiers©1916 L.J. Villiers

And now we met: I on the outer fringe
Of moving life of which he was the hinge.
As little leaf was I within the wood,
And he the wind to sway its every mood,
To stir the stagnant atmosphere to wealth
And vigored richness of full-blooded health.
Some ear commands in every field of yellow,
Some songbird sings more sweet than his songfellow,
Some plaintive notes forbid the mind's forgetting
In arid hours of gain and loss and fretting:
And he, rough-nurtured as the millions are,
In crudest mould that shapes a life-long bar,
Won as he stood the yearning crowd among
A murmuring homage kings have seldom wrung,
With voice subjective to a power intense,
And mind a dictionary of teeming sense,
He cavilled at a stolid, dull content,
And told the gospel of enlightenment.


Authorised by The Australian Tramway Employees Association and The Victorian Railways Union 1918

From L.J. Villiers book "The War on the Workers"

Leon Joseph Villiers did his day's work, as other men did. He was in the tramways, and stayed there for 18 years. In addition to that he was a leader, an organiser, a writer who expressed the workers' point of view, week~in, week~out, StilI more, he was a poet, and his thoughts: when they were set free rose to other planes of experience. He was a man who lived the lives of three men, and none of the lives was wasted.

Here, then, is a book about Villiers and his ideals, written almost entirely by himself. In one sense it is a casual autobiography, a book of the reflections and recollections of no ordinary man. In another sense it is a Labor manifesto. In either case it is a book for the Democracy of Australia.


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