I saw a picture today of a one-room school house

class taken around 1910.

The children look sickly, big bags under their eyes

like they’ve been up late at night and up early in the morning.

Their father’s probably beat them in the corn

and expected them to wear out their one pair of shoes

shuffling back and forth across the long acres of the farm.

How tired they must have been

them that were children in a time when children were a commodity.

The schoolmarm with her Seattle education and her fancy petticoats

would look at them with pity and say a little prayer for their

‘education.’ She would hope that the little ones could learn

the basics

without being given more than the basics.