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Jan 2014
Scant moments after sun rise they appear,
Shadows in a distant field,
Moving like ghosts upon a sea,
Of shimmering dewy green.
They toil, bent onto their work,
No music, no joyful banter,
Only their laboring breaths,
Visible in the morning air.

An aged tractor crawls along,
Out in front of them,
They stoop and toss yellow squash,
Into a trailer bin.

Fifty acres by Noon they're told,
"Get it done, or get gone by Ten!"
"No Medical Insurance here,
No Retirement Plan,
No promises or guaranties,
It's work for the moment,
Only if WE please."
Yells out the Overseer!

Noon brings the heat,
Another fifty acres of zucchini.
Nothing changes,
Not even the scenery.
Hats and hoods,
Long sleeves and scarves,
Shield from the sun,
Yet the new heat they must endure.

Still they stoop and toss,
With ****** hands and painful spines.
"Get it done today or no work for you tomorrow.
Don't get hurt there ain't no Workman's Comp."
They are often reminded.

I watch and read a book upon my shady porch,
My promenade to the world.
Morning coffee giving way,
To the afternoon's ice cold Lemonade.
I observe from my distant knoll,
Like a unfettered bird in the sky,
Being detached and alone.
As if I and the people in the field,
Reside on different planets.

I sit there in my orb with soft hands and body,
The products of a privileged life being a Native Son.
I worked in three piece suits, shirt and ties,
An education, crafty sales ability, my convenient alibis.

They come from the South,
From poverty and dead ends,
A border or two away,  
Do the work that only slaves would do,
Back in yesterday.
To put food on our tables,
Grease the wheels of our industries.
Put some meager food in their mouths,
and fuel their fantasy's.
Most do not speak our language,
Yet still our life they crave.
We do not welcome them as we should,
They must sneak in like thieves in the night,
Just to be our willing slaves.

What real difference them to me?
Geographic locations of birth, little more.
That's not really hard to see,
If only we stop and care to look.

A ****** to their hardship,
I watch humbled and inspired,
This display of their commitment,
Their indomitable human spirit.

The hours pass and still they follow,
Up and back crossing the field,
Chasing that same tractor,
Walking miles, going no place at all.

While I've done other things this day,
Leisure, cardio stationary bike,
(No need to take a hike.)
Intellectual stimulation enjoyed,
Eaten twice and rested well.
But not those men and women across the way,
They now merely indistinct bent shapes,
Upon, an ever darkening landscape,
Smudges of smoldering black,
In a vast field of breeze tossed olive drab.

Dawn to dusk being their fate,
Their tomorrows all the same.
Hard work and a willingness to do it,
Their passports, to "Possibility",
and for staying in the game.
Written by
Stephen E Yocum  M/North Western Oregon
(M/North Western Oregon)   
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