Selected Poems

5 Best Labor Day Poems to Honor The Workers

Last Updated: January 26, 2023
labor day

Labor Day is a yearly acknowledgment to the contributions that workers have made to the prosperity of a country. It’s a special day devoted to working-class people, and in most countries, it’s a holiday. So to honor the workers and celebrate the day, in this article we will look at 5 of the best Labor Day poems.

1. They Who Tread The Path Of Labor by Henry Van Dyke

They who tread the path of labor follow where My feet have trod;
They who work without complaining, do the holy will of God;

They Who Tread The Path Of Labor promotes the idea that God is present in the actions of those who “tread the path of labor” and “work without complaining”, and that by doing so, they are following the “holy will of God”. It also indicates that God is present in the moments of rest and peace, and in the “sacrament of life” which is likely a reference to the Christian sacrament of Communion.

They Who Tread The Path Of Labor by Henry Van Dyke is a spiritual poem, which aims to remind the reader that God is always present and can be found in the everyday aspects of life. The simple language, repetition, imagery, and rhyme work together to convey the theme of the poem and to provide comfort and reassurance to the reader.

2. The Lay of the Laborer by Thomas Hood

As health and morals fail,
Shall visit me in the new Bastille,
The Spital, or the Gaol!

The Lay of the Laborer opens with the laborer listing tools of his trade, “A spade ! a rake! a hoe! / A pickaxe, or a bill!”, and emphasizing his willingness to work, “And here’s a ready hand / To ply the needful tool.” The laborer shows his willingness to work in various tasks, from farming to building, and his desire for a peaceful and content life. The speaker also describes the harsh conditions faced by laborers, including poverty, hunger, and the threat of being sent to the workhouse or prison.

Through The Lay of the Laborer, Thomas Hood illustrates the struggles and hardships faced by laborers in 19th-century England. The poem is written from the perspective of a laborer, who expresses a desire for work, dignity, and fair treatment. It serves as a reminder of the struggles and sacrifices of the working class and their ongoing fight for fair treatment and dignity.

3. The Bridge Builder by Will Allen Dromgoole

To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”

The Bridge Builder tells a story of an old man who is traveling on a lone highway and comes across a deep and wide chasm. The old man, without hesitation, crosses the chasm and continues on his journey. However, when he reaches the other side, he decides to build a bridge over the chasm. When a fellow traveler questions the old man’s actions, the old man responds that he is building the bridge for a young person who will come along the same path, which could be a pitfall for him.

The poem is a reflection on the importance of labor and sacrifice for future generations. The old man, in his wisdom, recognizes that his journey may have ended but the journey of others will continue and that he can make a difference by building a bridge that will make the journey of others easier. Will Allen Dromgoole reminds us that one’s actions can have a lasting impact on the lives of others, even after one’s own journey has ended.

4. I Hear America Singing by Walt Whitman

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,

I Hear America Singing celebrates the diversity and beauty of American culture, specifically the songs and carols of the American people. It describes various people from different professions, such as mechanics, carpenters, masons, boatmen, and shoemakers, each singing their own songs as they go about their work. The singing of mothers, wives, and girls, is also depicted to emphasize the role of women in American culture.

The poem is written in a free verse style, with no regular meter or rhyme scheme, which reflects the diversity and spontaneity of the songs being described. The imagery in the poem is vivid and descriptive, painting a picture of the American people in their daily lives, working and singing. Walt Whitman signifies the importance of work in American culture, and how it is celebrated through song.

5. Sonnet XIX: On His Blindness by John Milton

When I consider how my light is spent,
   Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,

When I Consider How My Light is Spent (or On His Blindness) reflects on the passage of time and the use of one’s talents and abilities. It is written in sonnet form and is a reflection on the speaker’s own life, specifically his sense of inadequacy and the fear that his talents have been wasted. The speaker expresses his desire to serve his Maker and to present his true account, but also questions whether God requires day labour or if his own gifts are useless.

The poem discusses the purpose of life and the question of what it means to truly serve God. The speaker is filled with doubt and insecurity but ultimately finds comfort in the idea that those who bear God’s mild yoke serve Him best, and that even those who simply stand and wait also serve. John Milton encourages patience and encourages the reader to trust that God has a plan for their lives and that their talents and abilities will be used in the way that they were meant to be.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, Labor Day is a time to honor the hardworking men and women who make our country run. These 5 poems provide a powerful glimpse into the lives and struggles of the working class and serve as a reminder of the sacrifices and contributions of the working people. These poems are a great way to celebrate and honor the hardworking men and women who make our country great. If you want to read more poems like this, check out the articles below:

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