Today, May 1st, is May Day. May Day celebrates the arrival of Spring, and in many parts of the world children dance around the maypole as part of the May Day commemoration. In many cultures, May Day, also known as International Worker’s Day or Labor Day, is also a day of celebrating work and workers.

This week’s Thoughtful Thursday offerings pay tribute to both celebrations of May Day. An excerpt from “May Day” by Ralph Waldo Emerson heralds the arrival of Spring, and Sara Teasdale’s “May Day” describes the wondrous new growth of the season. Two poems related to work and working round out our Thoughtful Thursday. “Always Finish” is a quick inspirational ditty we can encourage our sons to memorize, and Edgar Guest’s “Results and Roses” reminds us of the value of hard work. Enjoy.

Excerpt from May Day

Wreaths for the May! for happy Spring
To-day shall all her dowry bring,
The love of kind, the joy, the grace,
Hymen of element and race,
Knowing well to celebrate
With song and hue and star and state,
With tender light and youthful cheer,
The spousals of the new-born year.
Lo Love’s inundation poured
Over space and race abroad!

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1881)

May Day

A delicate fabric of bird song
Floats in the air,
The smell of wet wild earth
Is everywhere.
Red small leaves of the maple
Are clenched like a hand,
Like girls at their first communion
The pear trees stand.
Oh I must pass nothing by
Without loving it much,
The raindrop try with my lips,
The grass with my touch;
For how can I be sure
I shall see again
The world on the first of May
Shining after the rain?

Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)


If a task is once begun,
Never leave it till it’s done.
Be the labor great or small,
Do it well or not at all.



The man who wants a garden fair,
Or small or very big,
With flowers growing here and there,
Must bend his back and dig.

The things are mighty few on earth
That wishes can attain.
Whate’er we want of any worth
We’ve got to work to gain.

It matters not what goal you seek
Its secret here reposes:
You’ve got to dig from week to week
To get Results or Roses.

Edgar Guest (1881-1959)