Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Work that is real

I come from a farming family. My kids are so very disconnected from the rural reality, they ask me questions like "are frogs real? I've never seen a frog." Someone was posting favorite lines from poems on Facebook today and it made me remember this poem by Marge Piercy, excerpted below. It made me think of farmers we have known all over the world - Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Albania, the US. Work that is real. 

To be of use

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.
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.

Sometimes the work I do doesn't feel very real. Parenting does; things like knitting and cooking ground me. I don't think I'd make a very good farmer because I live a lot of the time in my head. It's always good to visit our partners here. It grounds and connects us to work that is real.

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