Today is the 101st anniversary of International Women’s Day. You can celebrate in all kinds of ways – in Russia, it’s customary to give out flowers.
Poetically, you can totally celebrate by booking a woman to feature at your reading – you’ve been meaning to anyway =)
Bread And Roses, by James Oppenheim*
As we come marching, marching in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: “Bread and roses! Bread and roses!”
As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women’s children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!
As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for — but we fight for roses, too!
As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days.
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler — ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life’s glories: Bread and roses! Bread and roses!
*Yes, I know, there’s a bitter touch of irony here that the poem is by a man. BUT this poem has significance in the Bread & Roses Strike of 1912 at Lawrence Textile Mills.See also for reference, please, Rose Schneiderman, and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.