Social Justice Poetry

At 100, Gramps Recalls Life in Mississippi | A Social Justice Poem by Donal Mahoney

Being poor on our patch of land
was better than being poor
all the years I’ve lived in the city.
We had a couple of cows,
a rooster and seven hens.
We had milk and eggs and meat
in back of the shack we lived in.

In summer we had a garden
and we canned tomatoes and beans.
Pa bought flour by the gunny sack
and it didn’t cost that much.
Mom baked bread and biscuits.
There were 12 of us back then
and we loved biscuits and gravy.

Slavery wasn’t dead too long
so we had odd jobs all year round.
The plantations needed help.
A retired doctor would come out
to the house for a nice chicken
Pa would clean and cut up.
That was Mississippi in the Twenties.
Probably nicer down there now.
I was a tyke in short pants then.
As long as we avoided the noose,
we had food and beds to sleep in.

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