Claude McKay's Early Poetry (1911-1922): A Digital Collection

Labor's Day


Once poets in their safe and calm retreat
Essayed the singing of the fertile soil,
The workmen, bare-armed in the noonday heat,
Happy and grateful at his peaceful toil;
But now their voices hollow sound and cold,
Like imitated music, false and strange,
Or half truths of a day that could not hold
Its own against the eternal tide of change.
For Labor, Lord, himself will limn his life
And sing the modern songs of hope and vision,
And write the inspired tale of long-drawn strife
While mocked the poor blind world in grim derision,
Until she opened wide her eyes in awe
To see a new world under labor's law!

(The Messenger, September 1919.)
(Thanks to Chris Forster for locating the scan of The Messenger in HathiTrust. Re-typed and proofread by Amardeep Singh)

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