The Bricklayer’s Beautiful Daughter

To The Ambitious Workman

 With Apologies to William Ackerman

William Stapleton

A Personal Message About This Poem

 The bricklayer’s beautiful daughter

            was all that I needed to see

            to know that a mate from a humble estate

            could wealthy and prosperous be.

 

With simple and elegant grace she walked

            and modesty cloaked her smile,

            as she bowed in respect to the others she met,

            on her way to the mercantile.

 

As I stood hip-deep in a footing’s trench

            and a mist began lightly to fall,

            with nary a fret, so as not to get wet

            a bright canopy answered her call.

 

Then I thought of the two of our stations,

            hers in beauty and mine of the sweat,

            hope rose in my heart that a low meager start

            might a dignified end achieve yet.

 

And I knew then that this was her calling.

            Nothing more, but surely none less

            than to offer the grace of a beautiful face,

            as a bright harbinger of success.

 

For a man never lived who could labor

            in the dirt, by the sweat of his brow,

            lest he certainly knew that the way up was true

            and the future was better than now.

 

Sure, an idler could never decipher

            the rhyme of her high, noble creed,

            for he sees naught but strife in the laborer’s life,

            in the daughter’s face, envy and greed.

 

Now, a handout produces a pauper;

            as we hasten to give, yet we steal.

            For, in humble esteem, the man beggars his dream,

            and a victim’s cry taints his appeal.

 

When, in the midst of our toil, we behold her,

            the specter of what we might be,

            let us never lose sight of the work that is right

            and the earning of sweet dignity.

                        Let us each earn our own dignity.


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The Bricklayer's Beautiful Daughter by William Stapleton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.