The Pale Operator

A poem by Morris Rosenfeld

If but with my pen I could draw him,
With terror you'd look in his face;
For he, since the first day I saw him,
Has sat there and sewed in his place.

Years pass in procession unending,
And ever the pale one is seen,
As over his work he sits bending,
And fights with the soulless machine.

I feel, as I gaze at each feature,
Perspiring and grimy and wan,
It is not the strength of the creature,--
The will only, urges him on.

And ever the sweat-drops are flowing,
They fall o'er his thin cheek in streams,
They water the stuff he is sewing,
And soak themselves into the seams.

How long shall the wheel yet, I pray you,
Be chased by the pale artisan?
And what shall the ending be, say you?
Resolve the dark riddle who can!

I know that it cannot be reckoned,--
But one thing the future will show:
When this man has vanished, a second
Will sit in his place there and sew.

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