Labor Day Roses, 2013

“Hearts starve as well as bodies – give us bread but give us roses.”
Bread and Roses Strike 1912, Lawrence Textile Mills,
                                    song based on a poem by James Oppenheimer

Texas Fertilizer plant – they worked for bread.
On their deaths, we lay roses.
Prague office block – they worked for bread.
On their deaths, we lay roses.
Chinese poultry plant – they worked for, well … rice.
on their deaths, we lay roses.
Bangladesh garment factory — naan roti, flat bread.
On their deaths, we lay roses.
Premex in Mexico City — tortillas for their children.
On the deaths, we lay roses.

As we go weeping, weeping, for so many workers dead,
our singing still is naming the right of all for bread.

And, still for love and beauty as our world divided grows —
poor, as rich, need dance and art, need music and the rose.

The dead will be remembered, the living given dreams —
safety in the workplace and justice’ living streams.

We are praying, praying, even if great power opposes.
For the names of God are many – and each of them discloses —

a feast of love in many breads, a legacy less roses.

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2 Responses to Labor Day Roses, 2013

  1. Lovely wording for the old B read and Roses song, thanks so much for it. And just this morning the news carried the story of an industrial accident in China, 15 dead, 25 injured, from chemicals leaking from a refrigeration system . . . . and in the US the minimum wage is still only $7.50/hr . . .

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