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Man Carrying Bale
(14 March 1879 - 16 March 1932 / Brussels)

Man Carrying Bale

The tough hand closes gently on the load;
Out of the mind, a voice
Calls 'Lift!' and the arms, remembering well their work,
Lengthen and pause for help.
Then a slow ripple flows from head to foot
While all the muscles call to one another:
'Lift! 'and the bulging bale
Floats like a butterfly in June.

So moved the earliest carrier of bales,
And the same watchful sun
Glowed through his body feeding it with light.
So will the last one move,
And halt, and dip his head, and lay his load
Down, and the muscles will relax and tremble.
Earth, you designed your man
Beautiful both in labour and repose.

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