"Bread and Roses" from Pride

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Joe Taylor

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Shared December 26, 2014

There is one specific couplet from this poem that for me demonstrates a writer's ability to take the same words we all know and use and yet arrange them in a way that seem as profound as secrets God would would whisper to the stars lol But the full work is right below the lines I pulled from it.

'Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes--
Hearts starve as well as bodies: Give us Bread, but give us Roses!'

"Bread and Roses"
James Oppenheim
Published: The Cry For Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest, ed. by Upton Sinclair, John C. Winston Co., 1915.

As we come 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 come 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 come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient song of Bread;
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew--
Yes, bread we fight for--but we fight for Roses, too.
As we come 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 sharing of life's glories: Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses!