Song of the Working Child | Teen Ink

Song of the Working Child

August 10, 2018
By LEL737 SILVER, Port Washington, New York
LEL737 SILVER, Port Washington, New York
9 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
What will you do with your one wild and precious life? - Mary Oliver

Oh, you many market places,
Mocking the wretched state-
Of all my fellows of the fields;
All the fruits we’ve yet to feast.
For just across the boulevard,
There is comfort out of reach.
Luxury is for only those who’ve
Schooled beyond grade eight.
And though I dearly love my kin,
The green that helps them live-
Their roots they hold me to the Earth,
Trading my future for but hapless dirty work.
So in this land of freedom’s creed,
Come watch my struggle,
Come feel my pain.
Watch as my bleeding fingers stain;
The cucumbers,
The grapes,
The grain,
The endless groves of citrus fame.
Then cast aside my lifelong toil,
And lift your golden goblets up.
Fear me as I fear the gas,
That floats above and farms but cash.
Look away and care no more,
I am but a child,
But not child’s lore.
My labor ruled by homegrown lords.

The author's comments:

I wrote this for an 8th grade social studies class assignment, and I can't remember if I got a good mark on it or not. (Shout out to my awesome SS teacher!) We were learning about migrant workers, and child laborers; kids who are made to work under harsh conditions like pesticide sprays, long grueling hours, dangerous tools and little compensation. In one video we watched these people were bent over tomato vines across a highway from a full-fledged golf course. Talk about nearsightedness. I don't think it's right to hire people at ridiculously young ages, but the families must be desperate, and this happens in America and around the world all the time.

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