Blogathon for Pearlington

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Poetry Break

Reading Lori Gordon's thoughts reminded me of one of my favorite poems, "To Be Of Use" by Marge Piercy. The poem speaks to the part of myself that likes to work for the sake of working, for the usefulness to others and for the meaning it gives my life. As I wind down my shift at the Blogathon for Pearlington, I want to thank Sharon for all of the work she has done pulling things together, and good luck, to all of you in Pearlington. I hope we've been able to help in some small way.

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 stand in the line and haul in their places,
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.

"To be of use" by Marge Piercy © 1973, 1982.

Pasted from


  • Wou're doing great so far! Some of us bloggers are here to cheer you on! Don't worry, you can do it! ^^

    By Blogger Renegade Kosher, at 11:58 PM  

  • Thanks, Renegade K! Appreciate your cheer--it means a great deal to this still-bleary-eyed gal.

    By Anonymous joanna, at 6:33 AM  

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