I have one more poem to go. I think the hardest part of the project will be writing the factual material and assembling the book. I have to determine the order, and maintain a balance of girl-boy voices. A significant portion will be mill worker poems, and the rest will be a mix of other child laborers--newsies, pickers/packers, home workers, etc. If everything doesn't flow, then I may have to write a few more to substitute.
Library of Congress.
CherishInterestingly, the little girl on the right was Eddie Lou Young, the name of the one on the left is unknown. You can read all about the search for Eddie Lou's mother's identity, here. I gave the voice of today's poem to the unknown child.
Sister told me, "Cherish that friend."
When I asked her what that meant,
she said, "Keep smiling for Eddie."
We must laugh together. Sing while
we work. At break, whisper silly
words and secrets. And, I'm 'sposed
to listen when Eddie whispers in my ear.
Most of all, Sister told me to remember
the feelin' of her hand in mine--the
tangle of our sticky little-girl fingers.
"The Lord don't promise us nothing
here on earth but heartache and pain!"
she hollered at me. Hollered loud!
I was put in mind then--Sister
once had a friend, too, jus' like me.
Last year Sister stopped talking
bout her mill friend, Carrie, and I
figured she didn't like that girl
no more, but I think maybe she
'jus didn't hold on tight enough.
© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.
Renee at No Water River is awaiting your arrival for this week's Poetry Friday festivities.