Remembering Poetry

Tagged as Poetry

Written on 2009-09-04 04:26:40

It's been a long time since I've read poetry, as I related to a friend recently. I've wanted to get back to it and so poked through two volumes given to me by friends who know my love of poetry. I absolutely have to post one of the poems I read. The poem is taken from the book Good Poems, given to me by Don Gerz on my 22nd birthday. It was compiled by Garrison Keillor. It's called To be of use by Marge Piercy taken from p. 157. It's really outstanding. Someday I hope I work as well as those depicted...and find work as worth doing as that described.

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 pitched cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.
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