Workingman’s blues #7

By Patrick T. Reardon


Remember that story the

Greeks used to tell about

five runners, each on own

path, with news of Crete — the

one dead of mountain path

fall; another, snakebit; a third,

enemy-spy arrowed; the fourth,

lost, never found; and the fifth,

arriving at the feet of Klemos,

gasping, “West,” and dying?


Remember Klemos sending

his own runners east to buy

vineyards and fields near

reaping, and, after bleak

battle across west land,

selling wheat and wine to

victor — Cretans or

Greeks, what matter?


Remember the coda — his

great-grandson’s flesh, in

atonement, ripped, slashed,

shredded sun-up, sun-down,

and, in night dark, grown

back pure for violation

again in daylight in price

for Klemos who was, even

then, still planning, far from

final bed, more treasury?


Patrick T. Reardon


This poem was originally published by the Main Street Rag and later was included in my book Let the Baby Sleep (In Case of Emergency Press).



Written by : Patrick T. Reardon

For more than three decades Patrick T. Reardon was an urban affairs writer, a feature writer, a columnist, and an editor for the Chicago Tribune. In 2000 he was one of a team of 50 staff members who won a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. Now a freelance writer and poet, he has contributed chapters to several books and is the author of Faith Stripped to Its Essence. His website is

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