Here's my other, second-favorite poem for Labor Day. It's by Langston Hughes.
Well, son, I'll tell you: Life for me ain't been no crystal stair. It's had tacks in it, And splinters, And boards torn up, And places with no carpet on the floor— Bare. But all the time I'se been a-climbin' on, And reachin' landin's, And turnin' corners, And sometimes goin' in the dark Where there ain't been no light. So, boy, don't you turn back. Don't you set down on the steps. 'Cause you finds it's kinder hard. Don't you fall now— For I'se still goin', honey, I'se still climbin', And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
I've done a lot of work in my life that felt a lot like scrubbing splintering stairs. I've done work I didn't want to do, work for which I wasn't really suited, work that I did for no reason in the world except that it paid the bills, kept a roof over our heads, put shoes on my child's growing feet, gas in the car, bread on the table. I've worked for bosses whom I despised, systems that I knew were broken, structures designed to kill the spirit. Throughout all of those times, I focused on how warm and safe Son was, how beautiful was the blush on his well-fed cheek, how well I was investing the money in my plan to ESCAPE.
On Labor Day, may we all send out energy to the universe so that all people may find fulfillment, dignity, and joy in their work.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."