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Bread and Roses

For Labor day:

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!

                                                                  ___ By James Oppenheim



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 3rd, 2012 01:32 pm (UTC)
Excellent song! Is it from the Women's Sufferage Movement? Thanks so much for sharing!!
Sep. 3rd, 2012 03:25 pm (UTC)
Yes,also a labor and union song.

it is sung every year in NYC to commemorate the victims o the Triangle Shirtwaist fire.

Edited at 2012-09-03 03:26 pm (UTC)
Sep. 3rd, 2012 05:07 pm (UTC)
I used to read a series of 'mystery' novels that had an Irish immigrant heroine and she worked in such a place in one book and helped save the other workers in such a fire.
Sep. 3rd, 2012 09:51 pm (UTC)
What a beautiful poem and a very, very powerful sentiment. I knew the slogan Bread and Roses from its association with various workers rights movements but I had no idea where it came from. Thank you for sharing this.
Sep. 3rd, 2012 10:33 pm (UTC)
It has a good tune also, there are many recordings of it. It is the right kind for marching with a sign!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )