A Comrade is as Precious as a Rice Seedling

A comrade is as precious

as a rice seedling

One of many, it is true,

but nurtured by them

whose faces grow dark,

and taut, and lined

for the sake of their rice seedlings.

                        

A comrade is as precious

as a rice seedling

for whom the peasant's hands

grow thick and calloused

for whom his fingers

scrape the hardened mud.

                           

A comrade is he

for whom the peasant's toes

get muscled and big

because, like a rice seedling,

he will grow, one of precious many,

to fill the hunger

of him who cared enough

to nurture little seedlings.

                             

A comrade is as precious

as a rice seedling

fed and nurtured

guarded from pestilence and floods

                  

And yes, beloved of the peasant

because a rice seedling

grows, not only to fill his hunger,

but to give birth

to other seedlings

who will give birth

to many more

who will fill the hunger

of generations of peasants

for food, and land,

and right.

                   

                



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