Poetry Thursday

To be of use

 Marge Piercy


Thepeople I love the best

jump into work head first

 without dallying in the shallows
 and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
 They seem to become natives of that element,
 the black sleek heads of seals
 bouncing like half-submerged balls.
 I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
 who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
 who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
 who do what has to be done, again and again.

 I want to be with people who submerge

in
the task, who go into the fields to harvest

and
work in a row and pass the bags along,

who
are not parlor generals and field deserters

but
move in a common rhythm

when
the food must come in or the fire be put out.

 

The
work of the work is common as mud.

Botched,
it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.

But
the thing worth doing well done

has
a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.

Greek
amphoras for wind or oil,

 

Hopi
vases that held corn, are put in museums

but
you know they were made to be used.

The
pitcher cries for water to carry

and
a person for work that is real.

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