The Charge of the Workers’ Brigade

by The Inmate

There is something coldly uniform about the human race.  Most of them have to work for the greater part of their lives in order to live . . . Oh, human destiny!
         But really, they are good people.
                                                     Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther

The Charge of the Workers’ Brigade
(With apologies to Tennyson)

Everyday, every hour,
every man onward,
All in the warehouse of business
Worked the millions and millions.
“Forward the Workers’ Brigade!
Drive to deliver,” he bade.
Toward the high rise of haste
Commuted the millions and millions.

“Forward the Workers’ Brigade!”
Did anyone fathom why?
Did any hireling know
The CEO had lied?
Theirs is not to make reply,
Theirs is not to reason why,
Theirs is but to fax and die,
Into chronic tedium
Commuted the millions and millions.

Procedure to the right of them,
Paperwork to the left of them,
Clichés in front of them.
They chuckled and smiled;
They snarled and filed.
Besieged with policies and memos,
Shrewdly they worked and well,
Into the stupor of numbers,
Into the cubicle of overtime
(Those soul-killing hells)
Commuted the millions and millions.

Subdued their creativity there,
Worked the weekends there,
Fighting the managers there,
Resisting bureaucracy there,
But no one really cared.
The best hours of their day they gave,
The best years of their lives:
Man and Woman with prospects rife,
Reeled into corporate life
Tired and weary,
They clocked out, but not,
Not the millions and millions.

Procedure to the right of them,
Paperwork to the left of them,
Clichés in front of them.
They must conform and comply,
They resign themselves to die,
Beset with memos and lies,
While workers and managers fell,
They that had worked so well
Came through the jobs of drudgery,
Back from the mouth of hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of millions and millions.

Will their resilience fade?
O the wild stats they made!
But no one really cares
About the hours they gave.
Honor the Workers’ Brigade,
Noble millions and millions.

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