That worn clothes look
on the children down the road
playing and running in the afternoon
that these clothes are used,
we are castoff from – all the elegant
running little retailers, here
and in the next crossroads town.
.....But the dress one little girl
blithely wore, unaware
an argument as to the ways of society
was going on around her –
a long yellow dress
pulled in at the waist, nearly
sweeping the ground.
Oh, they are now pagan
these old castoffs,
but as rationale one sees the grime
sees the face broken in dark lines of consumption.
.....Of wearing secretly a burden,
costumes fitting as casually as though
they were stolen,
from the wealth
of the nation.
Bill Stagg turning up his beans, Pie Town, New Mexico. He will next pile them for curing: photo by Russell Lee, October 1940
Russell Lee photos from Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress
The Argument Is: Edward Dorn, from The Newly Fallen, 1961