Sunday, September 2, 2012

The joys of toil, Long Island Poem for Labor Day Sunday

Photographs by Gerry Corrigan
The full text of the very beautiful 'A Song of Joys' by Walt Whitman from his Leaves of Grass is overbrimming with joys of all kinds - work, music, manhood, womanhood, infancy, grain, and trees.

For this Labor Day Sunday we have picked lines connected with labor. We want to bring this edited version to All good folks of Long Island who appreciate the pure joy of their purposeful toils.

A Song of Joys 
Walt Whitman

O TO make the most jubilant song!
Full of common employments.


O the engineer's joys! to go with a locomotive!
To hear the hiss of steam, the merry shriek, the steam-whistle, the
         laughing locomotive!
To push with resistless way and speed off in the distance.


O the fireman's joys!
I hear the alarm at dead of night,
I hear bells, shouts! I pass the crowd, I run!


O to work in mines, or forging iron,
Foundry casting, the foundry itself, the rude high roof, the ample
         and shadow'd space,
The furnace, the hot liquid pour'd out and running.


O the whaleman's joys! O I cruise my old cruise again!
I feel the ship's motion under me, I feel the Atlantic breezes fan-
         ning me,


O the orator's joys!
To inflate the chest, to roll the thunder of the voice out from the
         ribs and throat,
To make the people rage, weep, hate, desire, with yourself.


O the farmer's joys!
To rise at peep of day and pass forth nimbly to work,
To plough land in the fall for winter-sown crops,
To plough land in the spring for maize,
To train orchards, to graft the trees, to gather apples in the fall.

'A Song of Joys' by Walt Whitman from the Leaves of Grass.
Reprinted after The Walt Whitman Archive. In public domain.

Previous Long Island Poem for Sunday - "How he will ever get along without her", Long Island Poem for the first day of school Sunday

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