Sunday, August 31, 2014


LABOR DAY POETRY


________ PRIMARY SOURCES ________

Look well upon the men who dig in mines,
And work machines in mills and factories grim.
Be aware that those who tend the vines 
Or till the soil give much for wages slim.
Reaping sowing, weeding, hoeing make
Full the nation’s store of nutriment.
Overland the burly truckers take
Rich provisions and accoutrement
Coast to coast. The teamsters load and haul
Enormous hordes of stuff that we’ve empowered,
Shipped in freighters, stored in silos tall,
Delivered, well-displayed, and then devoured.
Awards are due the goods and who supplies them,
Yet the wise despise the guys who advertise them.

~ FreeThinke - The Sandpiper, Summer, 1996



______ TO THOSE WHO HELP ______

May God bless the practical women and men,
Who rise from the hay every day, and then 
Produce what we need 
Without rancor or greed, 
Make things run, 
Get things done, 
Keep things clean, 
So they're fit to be seen, 
And continuously smooth the way 
So that we may live comfortably every day.

~ FreeThinke - 10/20/11



 ________ STILLNESS ________

No sound beyond the dropping of the leaves
Or shushing in the treetops of the stirring
In the air and periodic whirring
Soft of wings and bundling of sheaves ––

Every now and then a bird may call
Looking for or longing for his mate;
Escaping still the hunter’s dinner plate.
Scythes swish steadily as grain grown tall

Submits to delicate compelling force.
Workers silently bent to their task
Over whom hot sunshine spills its rays

Reap swiftly knowing pain could come, of course.
Later, in the afterglow they’ll bask
Dreaming foolishly of better days.

~ FreeThinke  - 9/21/13 


15 comments:

  1. I think you make good points here in recognizing the unsung heroes who do the grunt work to make a business, a multi-national conglomerate, or a country run at its best. Those that contribute to the extent of their ability, take personal pride in their effort to contribute to the success of the overall enterprise should be duly recognized and rewarded.

    However today we are more apt to hear about the "optimization of shareholder value", the hot button that gets the likes of Jim Cramer of Mad Money Maxrist-Leninism slobbering all over their shirts and ties as they greedily rub their hands together anticipating another corporate takeover of one of their touted and owned stocks.

    Case in point: Recent Burger King takeover of Tim Horton's. The takeover artists have a unique knack of "optimizing shareholder value" by drastically cutting staff, off loading company owned franchise outlets, and running offices on the cheap. The "efficiency" comes mostly at the expense of the original employees who contributed their time and effort to make the takeover candidate a worthy candidate to go on the chopping block and facing grim future prospects for future gainful employment.

    Good report on the "Burger King/Tim Horton's merger"

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  2. I was hoping that you'd be posting some of your own work in verse for Labor Day. Thank you, FT!

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  3. Thank you, all!

    I see myself more and more as a sort of metaphorical oasis -- at least on these pages.

    Anyone may come here and partake of the "waters" but no one can be forced to drink, wash, swim or otherwise appreciate them.

    Unfortunately, too many choose merely to urinate in these waters -- or worse.

    Even that is all right, because this little oasis has am invulnerable built-in purification system that quickly neutralizes and disposes of toxic waste with remarkable enthusiasm and zestful efficiency. §;-}

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  4. Waylon, you touched on the important issue of Crony Capitalism or Corporatism. Many want to see what-they-like-mockingly-to-call KAPITAL as the Great Villain, which of course is dead wrong. True Capitalism has been the greatest Friend and Benefactor the average man has ever had.

    Unfortunately, because of the excessive interventionist policies dreamt up and implemented by "Progressives" early in the last century this Counterfeit Twin of Capitalism arose, I would insist, as Business's Defense against the untoward incursions of the increasingly tyrannical government.

    BECAUSE Business could not 'beat? Big Government at the polls, this hideous Oligarchy both you and I despise and rightly fear emerged, and PERVERTED the nature of Capitalism.

    As a result of these machinations, the Middle Class is shrinking, the Working Class has been thoroughly screwed, the World is in flames, and The Oigarchs sit like little tin gods in their fortified palaces swilling down fine wine, eating caviar, enjoying the favors of handpicked courtesans, etc. as they sit back grinding their heels into the necks of us poor peasants.

    What we may need is a modern version of Goetterdammerung.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thersites said...
    In 2006, Revenue from Fortune 500 companies as a proportion of GDP has risen from 39 percent in 1955 to 73.4 percent this year.” At the same time, the percentage of the American workforce employed by the Fortune 500 has fallen to just 8%. The vast vast majority of people in this country do not work for the Fortune 500 or Fortune 1000. Each year the majority competes for an ever smaller share of the economic pie.

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  6. Evidence that we're regressing
    Makes statistics so depressing.

    Odd that with "Progress" we've less than before
    The Democrats said they would lift up the Poor.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Twist and spin is all the rage.
    Tis time for a reality check as we all know.

    When the blind lead the sleeping chances are slim.
    But there is always hope.

    Isn't there?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Twist and spin is all the rage.
    Tis time for a reality check as we all know.


    That's what the elusive qualities called "Insight" and "Perception" are for.

    Most people only know "what they read in the papers" or what others choose to tell them.

    Einstein is supposed to have said,"Imagination is more important than [acquired] knowledge."

    We have come to rely much too heavily on "data" -- "facts and figures" -- information gathered mindlessly without heart, conscience, vision, mirth or affection.

    Without Vision, Imagination, Perception and the Wisdom that may only be gained through broad Experience, we at as loveless, mindless automata -- mere cogs in a Machine -- galley slaves on a Roman-style trireme -- exploited workers in a Universal Sweat Shop.

    ReplyDelete
  9. It might be worthwhile to share this post made to another blog which featured vehement "Pro-Labor" remarks purportedly made by Abraham Lincoln.

    ________ PRIMARY SOURCES ________


    Look well upon the men who dig in mines,
    And work machines in mills and factories grim.
    Be aware that those who tend the vines
    Or till the soil give much for wages slim.
    Reaping sowing, weeding, hoeing make
    Full the nation’s store of nutriment.
    Overland the burly truckers take
    Rich provisions and accoutrement
    Coast to coast. The teamsters load and haul
    Enormous hordes of stuff that we’ve empowered,
    Shipped in freighters, stored in silos tall,
    Delivered, well-displayed, and then devoured.
    Awards are due the goods and who supplies them,
    Yet the wise despise the guys who advertise them.


    ~ FreeThinke - The Sandpiper, Summer, 1996

    _____________________________________________

    That's what I, a lifelong Conservative-Libertarian, has thought about the value of honest, productive labor and the debt we owe to those who perform it honorably.

    Lincoln, I believe, came and went before Industrialization had completely taken over the land. He was unaware of Marxism, because it hadn't been implemented yet, and unaware of labor unions, which, if they existed at all in his time, were certainly in their infancy.

    "Labor" to Lincoln meant cutting down large trees, sawing them up, stacking into usable components, possiby transporting them by horse-drawn-cart or wagon, then coming back to dig out the stumps -- all of this STRICTLY by HAND.

    Few may think if him this way, but Lincoln was physically STRONGER than a TEAM of OXEN, and knew what unrelieved, backbreaking toil at NO WAGES really meant.

    His good-for-nothing father, Thomas, yanked Lincoln out of school and "farmed out" the young man's labor to neighbors, collected pay for Lincoln's work, and never shared a penny with young Abe.

    Is it any wonder Lincoln felt as he did?

    All that aside, ANY established Power Bloc, -- no matter how noble its stated aims may have been at its inception, -- WILL become corrupt, greedy, power-mad, self-serving, self-protective, and ultimately tyrannical, if left unchecked.

    Achieving a workable Balance of Power between ANY discernible competing factions is a never-ending task. As soon as one side gets the Upper Hand, it will begin to ABUSE its authority.

    Perhaps not all, but certainly far too many union leaders became GANGSTERS imposing their will on union members with a small army of THUGS.

    And of course, unions are largely responsible for generating the horrendous degree of INFLATION that has made the PURCHASING POWER of today;s DOLLAR less than one thin DIME of what it was in my grandfather's day.

    As the Pennsylvania Dutch used to say, "The farther ahead we go, the behinder we get."

    That's not nearly as funny as it sounds on first hearing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. If crewmen kill the Captain, the Boatswain and First Mate,
    Who'd be left to guide and save them from a dreadful fate?
    Who would know how to pursue their proper, urgent goals?
    Who'd prevent the ship from breaking up out on the shoals?


    ~ FT (9/1/14)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Things work best when there is an inherent tension between the poles, and it is no different with labor and capital (to use Marx's terms).

    Trouble enters in when government starts taking sides.

    People like to say the UAW crashed Detroit, but in fact, Detroit crashed because Big Labor, Big Biz and Big Gov were all in the same car joyriding.

    How do unions regain some standing and attract more members?

    $ Drop the outrageous bullshit, look around and understand reality, and then bargain from there

    $ Stop being a willing puppet of the Democrat party and instead assiduously court both parties (like the corporate fatcats and wall street banksters do)

    $ Offer workers benefits and services that they need like legal coverage, insurance, discounts on commercially available goods and services

    ReplyDelete
  12. I disagree that unions are "puppets of the D'Rats," Kurt. I'm morally certain it's QUITE the other way 'round.

    However, I know we agree that the de facto Marriage Between BIg Labor and Big Government is the Enword in Our Economic and Social Woodpile.

    This distortion has caused all Power Factions to form a de facto, conspiracy against the Public Good.

    Please note the de facto. It's an important distinction.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you for this beautiful post, FT. All three poems are good, but I especially liked Stillness. I think what you imply there is how rarely we know when we're well off, and how we forget to be grateful for life and the beauty that all around us.

    Fields were much better places than factories, I'm sure.

    Helen Highwater

    ReplyDelete

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