Cordula's Web. ONMT. Boat Drivers working across the Bou Regreg River, Rabat.
ONMT. Boat Drivers working across the Bou Regreg River, Rabat. HiRes. Gallery 33

Labor Is Prayer

Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

Laborare est orare:
We, black-visaged sons of toil,
From the coal-mine and the anvil
And the delving of the soil,

From the loom, the wharf, the warehouse,
And the ever-whirling mill,
Out of grim and hungry silence
Raise a weak voice small and shrill;

Laborare est orare:
Man, dost hear us? God, He will.

* * * * *

We, who just can keep from starving
Sickly wives, not always mild:
Trying not to curse Heaven's bounty
When it sends another child,

We who, worn-out, doze on Sundays
O'er the Book we strive to read,
Cannot understand the parson
Or the catechism and creed.

Laborare est orare:
Then, good sooth, we pray indeed.

* * * * *

We, poor women, feeble-natured,
Large of heart, in wisdom small,
Who the world's incessant battle
Cannot understand at all,

All the mysteries of the churches,
All the troubles of the state,
Whom child-smiles teach "God is loving,"
And child-coffins, "God is great:"

Laborare est orare:
We too at His footstool wait.

* * * * *

Laborare est orare;
Hear it, ye of spirit poor,
Who sit crouching at the threshold
While your brethren force the door;

Ye whose ignorance stands wringing
Rough hands, scamed with toil, nor dares
Lift so much as eyes to Heaven,
Lo! all life this truth declares,

Laborare est orare;
And the whole earth rings with prayers.

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