Eden, Then and Now
In ’29 before the dust storms
we believed in the milk company.
Milk came in glass bottles.
We spread dye-colored butter,
now connected to cancer.
We worked seven to seven
with no overtime pay;
pledged allegiance every day,
pitied the starving Armenians.
One morning in the midst of plenty,
there were folks out of context,
who were living on nothing.
Some slept in shacks
on the banks of the river.
This phenomenon investors said
would pass away.
My father worked for the daily paper.
He was a union printer;
lead slugs and blue smoke.
He worked with hot lead
at a two-ton machine,
in a low-slung seat;
a green-billed cap
pulled low on his forehead.
He gave my mother a dollar a day.
You could say we were rich.
This was the Jazz Age.
All over the country
the dispossessed wandered
with their hungry children,
harassed by the law.
When the market broke, bad losers
jumped out of windows.
It was time to lay an elegant table,
as it is now; corporate paradise;
the apple before the rot caved in.
It was the same worm
eating the same fruit.
In fact, the same Eden.
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Comments about this poem (Eden, Then and Now by Ruth Stone )
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
- Michael P. McParland
(31 March 1933 - 13 December 1980)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(23 June 1889 – 5 March 1966)
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