Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Bread . . . and Roses Too!

Bread and Roses

by James Oppenheim

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 cry 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 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 a sharing of life's glories: Bread and roses! Bread and roses!

When I think of the troubles of the world and the determination of my friends and me to fight for a better world, I realize how easy it is to be consumed by the grind, the anxiety, alas, sometimes the hopelessness of it all. It is so important for us, really for everyone, to bring joy, fun, music, art, beauty, and the natural world into our lives. We need the bread; but we need the roses too. We need to keep our balance, the hardest thing in the world. 

I am determined to bring the roses. I want to make the dessert, serve it to my friends, eat it myself!

No comments: