Monday, September 07, 2009

Another Poem For Labor Day

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—
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.

Picture found here.


Anonymous said...


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Lady Grace Dreamweaver said...

Amen sister. Been there. Over educated. Underemployed. Desperate work where they said don't put the college education on the application because there is no point. Things we do because we must.

Heck, I work for a guy now that wears $400 shoes, but we have no insurance or benefits. Says we can't have a payraise, either. But we just hired more staff. He knows that in this economy, I'm going going to keep working, even I took a $31,000 pay loose last year because I needed to go back to work after the last place closed.

Tomorrow I go to ask for help to pay the electric bill. At least I have a place to live.