January 15, 1899

On January 15, 1899, Edwin Markham’s seminal poem. “The Man With a Hoe” was published for the first time in the San Francisco Examiner. The poem was inspired by Jean-Francois Millet’s painting “L’homme a la houe”, which depicted a weary, French peasant leaning against his hoe in a field not his own. The poem was quickly reprinted across the United States as it portrayed how much of humanity was being used and burdened by their work, while receiving little rest or reward for their labors. A hundred years later, in 1999, Matthew Montgomery Wilder’s, Esq., poem, “A Man With a Ho,” received little acclaim and no recognition, as the main stanza went, “Twenty bucks, same as in town,” and finished, “You’re under arrest, I’m a police officer, scumbag.” The Honorable Mr. Wilder is believed to have derived his inspiration from real life events.

About Joel Byers

Born in North Georgia and educated at some very fine public institutions. Real education started after graduating from college and then getting married and raising two boys. Has the ability to see the funny and absurd in most things and will always remark on it, even if it means getting the stink-eye from his victims.
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