Sunday, September 2, 2012

Poems for Labor Day

It’s Labor Day on Monday, September 3, 2012 so I thought a poem about the working men and women of America would be appropriate. One of the most famous poems on this topic was written by Walt Whitman in 1860.

I Hear America Singing
by Walt Whitman
Statue of Liberty America Singing


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 the 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 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.
Click Here for more Walt Whitman poetry
It’s so noble, so glorious, so beautiful.  But that was over 150 years ago. 
What if Walt Whitman were writing today? 
Maybe, he’d write something like this.

I Hear My Workplace Singing
By Catherine Giordano

I hear my workplace singing, the varied sounds I hear
I hear my telephone ringing, or buzzing or singing
I hear my computer keys, clicking and clacking
I hear the air-conditioning, droning and strumming
And my co-workers, each in his cubicle, are yakking
I hear my computer singing, so many sounds I hear
I hear, at the start of my day, Windows chiming
I hear all sorts of binging and pinging and dinging
I hear Email incoming and appointments alerting
And the guy, in the next cubicle, is humming.
I hear my overworked body singing, the weary sounds I hear
I hear my frenzied brain multi-tasking
I hear my stomach churning, my lungs sighing
I hear, in my mind, a deadline clock ticking
And someone, in a nearby cubicle, is snacking and lip-smacking.
I hear all the sounds of the day—and at night I hear the TV blasting
As I sit there, couch potato-ing and de-stressing.

With my apologies to Walt Whitman.
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