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18 March 2004
“The Migrant’s Labor”
(An imitation of “The Thresher’s Labour” by Stephen Duck)
Of native land we fled the fallow field,
In hopeful dreams our lucky fate was sealed.
Escaped the border into a new land,
In cousins’ arms we formed a brethren band.
And yet, our fate! Still labor’s pains we feel;
We shake the white man’s hand to clinch the deal.
And toil to cull his fertile fields of fruit,
Fighting snakes and wasps and ants, to boot.
We’re up at dawn to wrestle thorns and weeds;
Pick ripe berries until blood appears in beads --
Desolation is a guest unwelcome.
The endless season is a chore to some;
I beam and bear the labor, for I know
How the proverb goes: You reap what you sow.
Stern Cronus keeps a watchful eye on us
While puzzling over foreign words of cuss.
Like a sharp-eyed Master of his chattel,
Boss rules the field upon majestic saddle.
What hardened hands and heavy hearts have we!
We heave our weary burdens home to see
Kinetic house of mixed, but pleasant, kin.
Amalgam army in adobe-bastion!
A table plentiful of Love we find;
But eat the meager food each shares in kind.
Then up at five to farm the boss’s crops,
Must persevere despite these rainy drops.
Now mounting labors overwhelm the past,
A weak man must collect his payment last.
Enduring winds and mighty Zeus’ hits;
Suppose Greek gods above are throwing fits.
Confusion soon unfolds over the field,
El jefe will not let his workers yield.
So back to work we once again return--
But bitter hearts and fevered spirits burn!