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
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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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