When the Leaves Come Out/The Rubaiyat of a Harvest Stiff

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When the Leaves Come Out  (1917)  by Ralph Hosea Chaplin
The Rubaiyat of a Harvest Stiff
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Awake! the Harvest Hand has found its might;
The Red Book Boys have put the Foe to flight:
And lo! a soft-pawed Sabo-Cat has caught
The "tight-wad" Boss who is no longer "tight."

For when the cock crew, as in days of yore
John Farmer hammered on the cowshed door;
"Come on, you Bums," yelled he, "and go to work."
"Back up," we said, "we've heard that noise before!"

"Get up!" he howled, "a thousand Bums each day
Beg me for work and never mention pay."
"Ah, yes, and when your dirty work is done
They pack their sweaty duds and fade away!

And those who harvested the golden grain
And toiled on through the summer heat and rain
Will live on "flop-house" charity and soup
Until you call them to your fields again.

You sometimes think men should not go to bed
But rather toil until the east is red,
Ah, you'd be happy if we served you thus,
And licked your boots for but a crust of bread."

Why should we toil till morning greets the skies
And let each farmer gouge our guts that tries;
We learned our lesson, and we learned it hard
Before we had the brains to organize.

It's all a game—these fields we harvest in;
The "Scissor" loses ere he can begin.
But SOLIDARITY is One Big Hand
That makes the Wobbly always sure to win.

The grindstone always grinds the "Scissors" nose,
For right or left as bids the Boss he goes.
But ask some Wise One why he organized,
He knows the reason why—he KNOWS—HE knows!

The Moonlight Monster said, "We don't agree;
You take the wage I give or let it be!"
"All right, old top, two bones and fifty cents
Will mean HEADS DOWN (we'll stack them right for three!")

There is no road too rough for Wooden Shoes;
(There is a Cat with CLAWS that never mews!)
A little Direct Action on the job—
And God Almighty couldn't make us lose!

The Shoe that can with logic absolute
The "Scissor" slave and "Scissor" boss confute—
The mighty Talisman that in a trice
Can Toil's Tin Wages into gold transmute.

So leave the Wind-Bags wrangle—let them be
To slaughter gods and spout philosophy;
The Wobbly has the Way to get the Goods
And that's the thing that interests you and me.

For when John Farmer's crops are stacked up fine,
Then every single rebel down the line
Can say (thanks to the Red Book and the Cat)
I've got my share, you "Scissors"—I've got mine!

And you, Good Slaves, who always prowl around
To work for "chuck" and sleep upon the ground,
You cannot ride or eat or work with us;

I heard a "shack" of some Wild Wobblies tell,
Christ, but they're rough; those Harvest Hands are Hell;—
Beware of gangs that sing those rowdy songs . . .
(He's learned his lesson, boys, he'll treat us well.)

There are some "stick-up" mugs with fancy eyes,
And many a Sheriff, too, has been put wise;
The old Town Clown respects us as he should—
Us Stick-Together Boys that organize.

And thou who didst with Poker and with Gin
Infest the Jungles I have slumbered in;
You'll have to find some better way than this
To take away MY little store of Tin.

Once in the Harvest Field at Dusk of Day
A "Scissor" stiff toiled on—the "Scissor" way;
I tapped him on his sweaty shirt and said:
"Ah, gently, Brother, gently pray.

Why work so hard for wheat you'll never taste?
(Next Winter in the Soup-Line you'll be placed.)
So help us make John Farmer come across,
And if he doesn't, Brother, why make haste?

Ah, when his crop is in and you should pass
John Farmer's gate he'd kick you in the pants;
So join us now and wear a Red Book, too,
And win the world for both yourself and class."