Lit Response # 6. Chicano Poetry

In his poem My Fifty-Plus Years Celebrate Spring, Luis Omar Salinas illustrates a form of poetry known as Chicano poetry. Chicano Poetry is written by Mexican-American poets who describe the hard working labor intensive lifestyle of working long and brutal hours in the fields. Salinas provides the reader with a unique perspective on a side of California that is often overlooked and under appreciated. The field workers, that are composed of Mexican-Americans who are over worked and under paid  working constantly to insure a successful harvest. In his poem Salinas writes:

” And with the passing of each season human life knows little change.”

Salinas allows the reader to think about the hard lives of these workers, waking up before dawn and driving into the fields to work under all conditions. In the quote above Salinas is illustrating how year round, these field workers are constantly working regardless of the temperature or crop. These workers are used to working in order to provide for their family and if they don’t work they will be unable to provide.

During Spring when the crops are ready to be harvested, these workers work diligently getting the crops  packaged and shipped to the markets. Salinas states in his poem how ” Mexican workers stacking up the trays and hard hours that equal their living.” In this line Salinas demonstrates how the workers jobs represent their way of life, by working long hours that require labor intensive work. Day in and Day out, these workers work the land that provide thousands of people with the fruits of they harvest.

Salinas ends his poem by writing, “I’ve heard it said hard work ennobles the spirit-If that is the case, the road to heaven must be crowded beyond belief.” By ending his poem with these lines, it is clear to see that Salinas is conveying how these workers are honest hard working people who through their honest hard work allow others to benefit from the fruits of their labor.


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