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You Don't Get To Rest If You Are Poor

Stephen Taylor

You don’t get to rest if you are poor.

Hard work for holidays doesn’t exist;

Come home—if you have one—Grandfather’s mattress

Collapse and sleep and go again.

Children choose hunger so parents can eat.

Stomach growling silently filled with watery soup;

Fantasy fills the void.

Mocked for clothes that do not last

Worn to rags and patched up again.

No newness is no news

Tomorrow walks in worn-out shoes.

Stress of survival draws lines on the soul

Children who grow up are older than all

Repeat the same lives as their parents have led

World on their shoulders a heart made of lead.

Pull up your bootstraps and chin to the sky

The rich ones have promised and they wouldn’t lie

A lifetime of hardship with pennies in hand

The poor must be fallowed to harvest the land.


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