Service Saturday: “Dirt”

Dirt is just matter out of place,
So scientists aver;
But when I see a miner’s face,
I wonder if they err.
For grit and grime and grease may be
In God’s constructive plan,
A symbol of nobility,
The measure of a man.

There’s nought so clean as honest dirt,
So of its worth I sing,
I value more an oily shirt
Than garment of a king.
There’s nought so proud as honest sweat,
And though its stink we cuss,
We kid-glove chaps are in the debt
Of those who sweat for us.

It’s dirt and sweat that makes us folks
Proud as we are today;
We owe our wealth to weary blokes
Befouled by soot and clay.
And where you see a belly fat,
A dozen more are lean…
By God! I’d sooner doff my hat
To washer-wife than queen.

So here’s a song to dirt and sweat,
A grace to grit and grime;
A hail to workers who beget
The wonders of our time
And as they gaze, though gutter-girt
To palaces enskied,
Let them believe, by sweat and dirt,
They too are glorified.

-Robert Service, “Dirt”

 



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