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Happy Labor Day!

09.08.09 Posted in Occasions, today's words by

Labor Day. You know what that means. Yep. Walt Whitman! This is one of
his best known poems and it calls to mind the importance of loving the
work that we do. If I had to work at any of the jobs Walt writes about,
the song I would sing would be a profane one of profound misery. But
Walt imbues the workday, in all its varied forms, with dignity, value,
and joy. So joyfully embrace the day off from paid labor this Monday,
and even more joyfully embrace the return to the work you love on


I Hear America Singing
By Walt Whitman
(first published in Leaves of Grass. Walt Whitman, 1855; this version published in Leaves of Grass. Boston, MA: Small, Maynard and Company; 1904)

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day–at night the party of young fellows,
robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

One Response to “Happy Labor Day!”

  1. Jean says:

    One of the first poems I memorized and still one of my favorites.

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