from "North Star" by Meridel Le Sueur

Walking on giant paths, and being small and frightened, the north countryman created giant myths, sang to cover fear and nostalgia for old lands and bends of rivers he would never see again.

The mechanics, lumberjacks, the lakemen, rivermen, woodcutters, plowmen, the hunkies, hanyocks, whistle-punks; the writers of constitutions, the singers in the evening along unknown rivers; the stone masons, the quarrymen, the high slingers of words, the printers and speakers in the courthouses, the lawmakers, the carpenters, joiners, journeymen -- all kept on building. Every seven years they picked up the loans, mortgages, the grasshopper-ridden fields, the lost acres, the flat bank accounts, and went on, started over, turned a new leaf, worked harder, looked over new horizons.

The heritage they give us is the belief we have in them. It is the story of their survival, the sum of adjustments, the struggle, the folk accumulation called sense and the faith we have in the collective experience. It was real and fast, and we enclose it. Many unknown people lived and were destroyed by it. What looks to us grotesque or sentimental is the humor of the embryo, the bizarreness of the unformed, and the understanding of it is a prerequisite to our survival. It was real, and created our day. Perhaps it encloses us.

It is the deep from which we emerge.

Like a lion the people leave marks of their passing, reveal that moment of strength when the radicle plunged into the soil, in the fierce struggle on a strong day, and a nation held."

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