Poetry: To be of use

On a much, much bet­ter note…this set­tles it. Marge Pier­cy’s life work has to go on my wish list.

To be of use 
–Marge Piercy
From Cir­cles on the Water

The peo­ple 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 world 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 wine 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.

Cur­rent Mood: awake
Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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