| The Gleaner
On hands and backside he scoots
rather than crawls across a wide stubble field,
left by the powerful reapers.
Paid by the bushel, they rush through the harvest,
gathering in haste, without a thought to the waste,
preciously left for the birds, and the gleaner.
He is too old, and too stiff, to walk without a stick.
Pay is no motive to endure the chill,
or breathe the dust and the chaff.
An empty stomach, is reason enough, to endure the pain,
of gathering grain, which has dropped to the ground.
It is carefully picked up, with raw red fingertips.
When the long day is finished
beneath a thatched roof that leaks in the rain.
He grinds the grain by hand between two rocks.
The gleaner adds a bit of fresh water
and then he bakes his bread.
over a scant fire of dry animal dung.
Does it taste less delicious to him
than the light bakers loaf does to the king,
who has no thought of the gleaner?
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