“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
Still we sing the song of labor for the workers who are poor,
for undocumented migrants, border children at our door.
For overtime and sick days paid, for childcare, pension lost,
while in board rooms of the nation, they can only count the cost.
Without one evening’s notice, you’re escorted to the street,
too old, too young, too quick of tongue — that secret balance sheet.
At Apple and at Walmart, this year free speech’s a prize,
and public health care workers want the right to organize.
The chemicals of Monsanto poison workers, poison land,
the fracking trains are flaming and there’s toxins in the hand.
Across the world are accidents and many workers dead,
and when profit moves the jobs around, the children cry 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.
We remember those who’ve gone before, and name a living dream —
safety in the workplace and justice’ living stream.
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, and, oh, a need for roses.