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Posts Tagged ‘labor’

 

……………………Labor

We have fed you all for a thousand years,
And you hail us still unfed,
Though there’s never a dollar of all your wealth
But marks the workers’ dead.
We have yielded our best to give you rest,
And you lie on crimson wool;
For if blood be the price of all your wealth
Good God, we ha’ paid in full! 

There’s never a mine blown skyward now
But we’re buried alive for you;
There’s never a wreck drifts shoreward now
But we are its ghastly crew:
Go reckon our dead by the forges red,
And the factories where we spin.
If blood be the price of your cursed wealth
Good God, we ha’ paid it in! 

We have fed you all for a thousand years,
For that was our doom, you know,
From the days when you chained us in your fields
To the strike of a week ago.
You ha’ eaten our lives and our babes and wives,
And we’re told it’s your legal share;
But if blood be the price of your lawful wealth,
Good God, we ha’ bought it fair.

 

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The fearless, fair-haired youth go racing by
To beat the sun with their eternal play;
Ignoring all the volumes as they sit
On shelves, made dusty by the ancient day.

But if they pause to look within the door,
Tis brief, for volumes do not speak with rap,
Nor beer commercials with seductiveness.
Instead, they stand or lean, and seem to nap.

Philosophy and history there dwell
As tenants, with a monthly rent long paid
By labor in the decades of the past,
And speak of Time, not black, or white, but grayed.

A smattering of math and arts reside
By politics in its disgraceful cave.
A button brings the turning of a tune –
A play-by-play of athletes in the grave.

Outranking all the facts that dwell within
Is Wisdom, treasured for her pillared strength,
Who, in the living of the testing years,
Spread through the books to fill the width and length.

She lives in leathered lexicons and tracts,
Anthologies of age, experience,
In almanacs beneath the thinning hair
Beside her sacred sister – Common Sense.

Youth shudder at the shaking in a hand;
They wince at wrinkles, see the years as gloom.
They view the silver hair like cobwebs.  Flee!
The tomes of wisdom are too near the tomb.

Library and librarian – the same –
He shuffles down the lane the young ones fly.
Their laughter sounds, as though the race was won,
But they, as yet, have no discerning eye.


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© Dennis Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2011.

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