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Syndic Literary Journal

Ode To A Farmworker


Yolanda Barrera

The sun shone brilliantly

He could feel the rays of the sun on his shoulder,

Like lashes of punishment.

With each step, he could feel the drops of sweat that bathed him.

That glided down his Tortured body.

Drops of sweat that emanated from his very essence of suffering,

That sprang on his forehead,

Like a crown of thorns.

With each step,

He felt the blisters on his feet.

Wounds of a soldier of war,

Blisters of hope,

That sprang from his spirit;

Each step was a sacrifice,

Given with faith, With love.

He walked like a sleepwalker,

So many more miles to get to Sacramento.

So many more days. One more step,  One more, One more,  One more,

Right, Left, Right, Left, Another step, Another one.

We shall get there. We shall get there. We must get there.

He kept thinking,

“I must have the courage.

Please Virgin Mary, Mother of God, do not abandon me.”

He could not fail. His cause was worthy.

He thought of the thousands of years of suffering by his people.

Because of the tyranny of the Aztecs;

Because of the avarice of the Spaniards;

Because of the arrogance and pride of the hacendados;

Because of the injustice of the dictators, Santa Ana, Porfirio Diaz, Huerta,

The list was never-ending.

He escaped from his home in Mexico,

Following the illusion of liberty.

In the United States of America, he found arrogance, avarice prejudice and racism.

His vision clouded with rage; It was not just.

All men have the right to their daily bread;

Why not the farm worker?

All men have the right to enjoy the fruits of their labor,

Why not the farm worker?

All men have the right to be treated with dignity,

Why not the farm worker?

He felt an unknown fury,

That shook his very essence.

That was why he followed Cesar Chavez;

He followed the illusion of true liberty Liberty

Seductive Ephemeral

So fragile.

One more step. One more step.

He heard the familiar and joyous cry of “Ajua”.

Startled from the monotony, he looked around.

He heard it again. It was coming from him.

Untethered happiness sprang from his lips.

The cry came from deep within his very soul.

He began to sing a joyous ballad,

He sang with joy,

Pain and numbness forgotten.

The fury of the mid day sun had abated.

The sun was setting.

The gentle rays massaged his shoulders.

The breeze whispered to him, “Victory will be yours.”

Soon the sweet night would envelope him covering him with its blanket.

The stars would twinkle with their as-yet unfulfilled promises.

His eyes would slowly close.

Tiredness forgotten, he would dream of a brighter future

Of liberty, justice, and dignity.


Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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