Happy May Day

May 1, 2009 at 8:45 pm (Uncategorized)

I listened to the Utah Phillips CD We Have Fed you All for a Thousand Years as my May Day event. The CD starts with the p0em, ‘The Boss.’

Praise Boss when morning work-bells chime
Praise him for bits of overtime
Praise him whose wars we love to fight
Praise him fat leech and parasite
Amen

Initially, that was going to be my May Day post, but then I decided that the emphasis was wrong. May Day isn’t about the boss; it’s about the workers. Our struggles, our sacrifice, our blood. From before Haymarket, and beyond.

And while I know that Bread and Roses is more often associated with International Women’s Day, the demands, not just bread, but quality of life too, are just as fitting. Happy May Day.

As we go marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: Bread and Roses! Bread and Roses!
As we go marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women’s children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.
As we go marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient call for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too.
As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days,
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life’s glories: Bread and roses, bread and roses.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; bread and roses, bread and roses.
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