Labor makes the world go round

Labor Makes the World Go Round

I wrote this poem inspired by an abstract painting for the Ode to Labor event at Vallejo’s Georgia Galleria 419 Georgia St., Suite 10, taking place during Art Walk on September 13th, 2019 at 7 PM. Thank you to Tom Stanton for agreeing to read it. The poems and paintings for a Labor Day theme will be on display starting September 3, 2019, M-F 10-6.


by Vallejo Poet Laureate D.L. Lang

inspired by Angela Simms’ painting “Finally Over”

Without workers the world would bear no fruits.

They rise before sunrise to greet the day

with waffles, coffee, and orange juice.

As the clock spins round, they toil and trudge.

Their efforts light the fire that fuels a dream,

and the hope that one day it might be finally over,

for through the worker’s eyes the truth is seen.

Workers are the backbone of the world,

holding all of society upon their backs.

Without the spinning of labor’s gears 

this world would surely cease to turn.

If they all might one day use their power,

stand together and refuse to cower,

cease creation for such low wages,

it would be a strike built for the ages,

just like in history’s storied pages.

And to those that came before we say,

“Thank you” on this Labor Day,

for without the workers’ sacrifice

who fought no matter what the price,

we would not have as many rights.

If every man would yearn to learn

her unjust systems would start to burn,

and a better world could be formed,

serving the entire rainbow of humanity—

a world the workers have surely earned,

a just world built for every heart and mind,

that peaceful world we have yet to find.

Ode to Labor art by Noah Dove

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D.L. Lang served as Poet Laureate of Vallejo, California (2017-2019). She is the author of twelve books, and one spoken word album. Her poems have been published in the Benicia Herald, Jewish Journal, Poets Are Heroes Magazine, ReformJudaism.org, the Benicia First Tuesday Poets anthology Light & Shadow, and in A Poet’s Siddur: Friday Evening Liturgy through the Eyes of Poets. Lang has been a featured act at several events including the Vallejo Man March, Unity Day, Solidarity with Charlottesville, the Vallejo Women’s March, Families Belong Together, and International Peace Day. She is also a regular at Poetry by the Bay and lead the Poetry in Notion poetry circle. She has won ribbons and rosettes at the Alameda, Marin, San Mateo, and Solano County Fairs. Her poems have been transformed into songs, liturgy, and used as a means to advocate for causes.

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