A poem by Morris Rosenfeld

No rest--not one day in the seven for me?
Not one, from the maddening yoke to be free?
Not one to escape from the boss on the prowl,
His sinister glance and his furious growl,
The cry of the foreman, the smell of the shop,--
To feel for one moment the manacles drop?
--'Tis rest then you want, and you fain would forget?
To rest and oblivion they'll carry you yet.

The flow'rs and the trees will have withered ere long,
The last bird already is ending his song;
And soon will be leafless and shadeless the bow'rs...
I long, oh I long for the perfume of flow'rs!
To feel for a moment ere stripped are the trees,
In meadow lands open, the breath of the breeze.
--You long for the meadow lands breezy and fair?
O, soon enough others will carry you there.

The rivulet sparkles with heavenly light,
The wavelets they glisten, with diamonds bedight.
Oh, but for a moment to leap in the stream,
And play in the waters that ripple and gleam!
My body is weakened with terrible toil.--
The bath would refresh me, renew me the while.
--You dream of a bath in the shimmering stream?
'Twill come--when forever is ended your dream.

The sweatshop is smoky and gloomy and mean--
I strive--oh, how vainly I strive to be clean!
All day I am covered with grime and with dirt.
You'd laugh,--but I long for a spotless white shirt!
For life that is noble, 'tis needful, I ween,
To work as a man should; and still be as clean.
--So now 'tis your wish all in white to be dressed?
In white they will robe you, and lay you to rest.

The woods they are cool, and the woods they are free;--
To dream and to wander, how sweet it would be!
The birds their eternal glad holiday keep;
With song that enchants you and lulls you to sleep.
'Tis hot here,--and close! and the din will not cease.
I long for the forest, its coolth and its peace.
--Ay, cool you will soon be; and not only cool,
But cold as no forest can make you, O Fool!

I long for a friend who will comfort and cheer,
And fill me with courage when sorrow is near;
A comrade, of treasures the rarest and best,
Who gives to existence its crown and its crest;
And I am an orphan--and I am alone;
No friend or companion to call me his own.
--Companions a-plenty--they're numberless too;
They're swarming already and waiting for you.

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