I had traveled over continents and crossed the oceans wide
To then settle on this island, by the swift Atlantic tide.
And here, I’ve made a living and have duly paid the rent –
But on looking back I wonder where my time and labor went.
For the joy I had in learning and in teaching what I’d learned
May be extant still, but muted, from the lashings that I’ve earned.
And the ebb and flow of seasons and the passing of the years
Have left me worn and weary, as my time of ending nears.
For though I’d flown across the globe, my travels since that time
Have mostly been to work and back – the worker’s tiresome rhyme.
And though this had a rhythm, like the whip on rebels brave
Or on men or beasts of burden, it has made of me a slave.
Should the men, of Earth begotten, and the women, side by side,
Have the Sky they claim as father watch his offspring still provide
The flour for the ovens that their humankind may make
And the fire, in which humans, yet other humans, bake?
Though all my life, for workers’ rights, I’ve carried high the torch,
I wonder what my thoughts will be, while gazing from a porch,
Retired from work at factories, if lucky – or, if not,
While blindly slumped upon a chair and by the world forgot’.
I walk to work and back each day, and though the work I do
Might give me bread to eat and more, I quietly say to you,
“Let not your son or daughter grow to work within a mill,
For that might rob your child of joy and even break the will.”
And what you would not have your offspring do, I’d ask that you
Should not expect that others do. To conscience, then, be true,
And ask, what humankind can do, to free itself of fetters –
So no one issues orders, nor aspires to join their “betters”.
Let’s rid the world of pestilence. Let’s start on it afresh.
Let no one call another “boss”. Your mind and soul, refresh
In waters pure of dignity, so all can rightly claim
There lived a race of beings wise – in truth, not just in name.