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Poem "When Cesar Chavez Died"

Copyright © 1997, 2017
By Diana Washington Valdez
Cesar Chavez (Verso/Tumblr)

When Cesar Chávez died



Dusty sandaled feet,

Darkened faces seared by sun,

Hands scarred by thorns,

Wounds and overuse;

The arrow of death flung

Stilled Cesar’s soul today,

Stunned farm workers

Arrayed in stony disbelief,

Leave fields with stout hearts crushed,

Gathered, stare at each other,

In unbearable quiet silence;

Their hot tears and mine combine,

A river of grief begins to flow

Watering the soil across the land,

From the grape yards of California,

To the apple groves of Pennsylvania.



[Cesar Chavez died April 23, 1993.

He was a longtime farm worker

advocate and hero to the downtrodden.

He co-founded United Farm Workers 

with Dolores Huerta.This poem

is dedicated to Ms. Huerta.]

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