Song Lyric Sunday: Bread and Roses

Helen @ this thing called life one word at a time, suggests, given the state of the world,  a protest song might be appropriate for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday. I agree and choose “Bread and Roses.”

national women's trade union league

Rose Schneiderman, a feminist and union activist, during a speech said “The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too.” Meaning that workers deserved more that a subsistence wage and life style. This line inspired James Openheim to pen the poem “Bread and Roses,” later set to music. The poem/song is associated with the Lawrence Textile Mill Strike 1912 which united various ethic communities of women workers in solidarity  to seek better working conditions. Wikipedia

This version of the song comes from the 2014 film Pride depicting the women  of a Welsh mining community singing “Bread and Roses” at a National Union of Mineworkers lodge during the UK miners’ strike (1984–85). Wikipedia

[  ] & {  } depicts different versions of the song

As we go 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 go marching, marching, we battle too for men
For they are women’s children, and we mother them again]

As we come marching, marching, we battle too, for men,
For they are in the struggle and together we shall win.
Our days 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, un-numbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient call for bread,
Small art and love and beauty their trudging spirits knew
Yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses, too.
As we go marching, marching, we’re standing proud and tall.}

[As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days
For the rising of the women, means the rising of the race]

The rising of the women means the rising of us all.
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.


As the song regained popularity, in the late 1970s, early 1980s, l sang “Bread and Roses” more than once on protest marches and at protest rallies



10 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday: Bread and Roses

the time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things . . .

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