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no work on sundays

by Elinor


I watched a documentary about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire a few days ago and it's haunted me ever since. This is just a little tribute to that.


I do not have to go to work on Sundays.

One day a week, gone the moment it arrives

and the other six I’m hunched over a machine

In the heart of town

me and a hundred other girls

trying too hard not to feel

in the heat, the sweat, the dirt and our bloodied hands

else we lose our minds.

The bell rings on Saturday as the sun goes down

And soon I’m on the train home

To Ma and Pa and little Bella

who is becoming quite grown up.

She’s eleven now and still so innocent.

I worry, with all the girls that come and go,

the deductions from my paycheck

for all the needles broken and fabric ripped

and minutes I’ve been late,

she won’t be much longer.

I hate to think of her in there,

but they pay a decent wage

and it keeps us fed and warm.

But I mustn't think of that now.

It’s Saturday evening and I’m going back

to the ones I love

and the handsome boy across the hall

whose smiles make my cheeks turn red.

yesterday he told me the best dancing is on Coney Island

and after we could ride the ferris wheel

and eat cotton candy.

I think of it now, the lights, the music, 

and the people

and for a moment I do not think of the factory.

It's a greater gift than I could ever know.

Before I leave Bella tells me I look beautiful

and for the the first time since my first glance at Lady Liberty

I feel hope. 


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121 Reviews


Points: 173
Reviews: 121

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Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:36 am
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nogutsnoglory wrote a review...



Wow, Elinor. This poem is fantastic.

The entire piece is incredible realistic, and I can feel the yearning of the speaker. I can feel the hopefulness and the wistfulness and the dreams. This poem does an amazing job of conveying emotion as well as painting the situation.

I really like the last bit, about Lady Liberty, alluding to the speaker's status as an immigrant; that's a nice nod.

This bit specifically took a second reading to understand the meaning of:

She’s eleven now and still so innocent.

I worry, with all the girls that come and go,

the deductions from my paycheck

for all the needles broken and fabric ripped

and minutes I’ve been late,

she won’t be much longer.


but again, it's a nice nod to the reality of the speaker's situation: a poor girl from an immigrant family, forced to work at a young age to help her family make ends' meet, and worried that soon her sister will have to do the same due to her mistakes.

As far as rhythm and flow go, I would have liked to see it more divided into individual stanzas rather than one long piece. I understand that keeping it whole gives it a different flow and helps the narrative, but I feel as though the emotion could have cut more deeply if the piece was in stanzas.

"and for a moment i do not think of the factory" wow ok cuts deep man, good job

This poem was great. I really have nothing else to say except it really fits into your style as a writer. You did a really good job.

Keep writing,

- Alex




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25 Reviews


Points: 398
Reviews: 25

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Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:14 pm
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I actually just watched smthing abt the shirtwaist factory fire 2 days ago in my history class. I like this poem 👋🏼
Srry I don’t have time to review this




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38 Reviews


Points: 560
Reviews: 38

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Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:43 pm
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dahlia58 wrote a review...



It's good of you to write something based on the fire. That incident should never have happened, but unfortunately, many factories still haven't fixed their appalling safety hazards and policies, if not here in the US, around the world. So many people jumped to their deaths during the fire as well...The speaker in this poem sounds realistic, resigned to her grueling work yet looking forward to spending time with the people she loves, as well as her Sunday date. I'm pretty sure a lot of the girls who died during the incident were thinking similar things to this girl while they were alive. It's sad. It's just plain sad, and infuriating.





It is a happiness to wonder; it is a happiness to dream.
— Edgar Allan Poe