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Published: Fri Oct 15 1976
Salman Toor, Fag Puddle with Candle, Shoe, and Flag (detail), 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, N.Y. Photo: Farzad Owrang.
Mother Jones

She sways
on her soap box,
diminutive figure
with outstretched arms
and a voice that reaches
for the hills.
Colorado sun fires
the mountain behind her,
plating her face in gold.
The miners push closer,
their faces tanned
with the dust
of Cripple Creek.
They listen,
each man seeing
his mother in her eyes
and his dead children peeking
from behind her skirts.
The smoke of supper
trails across the valley.
The men feast on her words.
They turn home
with full stomachs.


Around the turn of the century, Mother Jones traveled across the country organizing miners to strike against unbearable living and working conditions. She became a legendary figure.

See what's inside AGNI 5 and 6

Barbara Eve’s poems have appeared in Antaeus, The Nation, AGNI, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and other journals and anthologies. She lives and writes in New York City where she works as an editor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (updated 1987)

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