Friday, January 18, 2008

Poetry Friday -- Work

For my grade level, after a release day of intense work:

To Be of Use
by Marge Piercy

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.

(the rest of the poem is here...roundup is at Farm School.)


  1. Anonymous9:48 AM

    Thank you, dear friend. It is a pleasure working with you and I appreciate you so much.
    We all work so hard and this poem is perfect... we do what has to be done... and beyond.

  2. This is my ALMOST favorite Marge Piercy poem; it's the first one of hers I ever heard. Lovely.

  3. This is one of my favorite poems ever!!

    Jules, 7-Imp

  4. A wonderful, satisfying poem for a day of hard work. Enjoy your weekend!

  5. Anonymous11:10 AM

    Nice. Love her word choices.

  6. Anonymous12:52 PM

    OK. I get the hint. No more dilly-dallying. I'm off to pull like a water buffalo now...

  7. The joy of a job well-done is even better with a little Marge Piercy! This is a lesson that's always good to hear, especially for kids, and she puts it so eloquently, not to mention convincingly.

  8. oh gosh, ever since I started reading blogs I have spent even more time than I did before splashing in the shallows work I doubt this poem, beautifully written though it is, will become a favorite of mine! Makes me feel too guilty.

  9. Really liked this one (first time reading it). Yes, I feel guilty, but it's more inspiring in the end. Thanks for sharing it!

  10. you have no idea how much i needed to read this today. Thanks!!! i'm adding it to my "teaching with fire" personal collection.

  11. What a terrific poem. Especially for those of us writers who often feel like sloggers, worker bees. We get the work done, but is it fiery enough, creative enough? Who knows. But this poem made me feel satisfied just to be doing the work.



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