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poetry Why We Need Unions

The Pulitzer-prize winning poet Stephen Dunn died last week on his 82nd birthday. This poem reminds us that if life isn’t fair, there’s still kindness, even love.

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Why We Need Unions

                        After Aesop

By Stephen Dunn 

If the lion wants more
than his share, give it to him.
At least try, for Christ’s sake,
to strike a deal.
Forget your zealous politics.

Don’t be the ass, and want
to divide things equally
when equal you’re not.
You’ll be visited in broad daylight.
The jungle has its government.

The fox understands. After the lion
kills the ass for being an ass,
that is, for not knowing the limitations
of being clawless and without a plan,
the fox gives the lion a lion’s share.

What’s fair is for goose and gander,
for those capable of love, and even then,
even then… life being what it is
the rest of us spend most of it
dreaming of revenge.

Stephen Dunn was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his book Different Hours.  His new book of essays Degrees of Fidelity has just been issued by Tiger Bark Press.