I’m proud of my people, proud to be one of them,
that great mass on society’s bottom rung.
Those who, with coaldust under their nails
in their eyes, in their lungs
claw at the earth’s entrails.
cement in their hair
in their mouth, in their ears,
oil ingrained in their fingers,
on their face.
Sisters, glistening with sweat
midst the ceaseless noise of machines
that throw out shirts, shoes, toys, carpets
for other people.
Those with soil and sweat stuck to their skin
smelling of the earth, feeding the multitude,
grinding out their lives in a harsh pitiless system
with a sack load of half-dead dreams,
sometimes brought to their knees
by a tidal wave of despair,
groping in the dark to find tomorrow,
keeping hope alive;
they amaze me.
Somehow, from somewhere
in this cold, cruel
unforgiving scheme of things
they find love for their children.
Not a teaspoonful, not a cupful,
but buckets full, to bathe them in,
to pour over them.
They seem to know
that one day this world will be ours
and to take care of it
we will need those who have been loved