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Back You are here: Home Stories Words for the People Poetry Workout
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 17:24


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Workout Lotus Flower Candle Holder by Peter Griffin

This work only gets done
when there are a thousand and one other things to do.
It’s a race to the finish, usually,
with a last gasp and then a rattle.
This work only gets done
when no one else wants you to do it.

When you are alone, the score can be tallied,
so, count how many of your pieces were taken
while you went in for the checkmate.

What falls away is some fat,
and the seconds of your time that would have been wasted
by others wasting theirs.

I’m not saying this to be rude to your loved ones,
if they are the ones who love you,
they will nod, walk out the door,
and go home to their work.

When you both emerge
your love will be that much richer
for not having squandered it.

Despite what others will tell you,
there is love in this work.
We are all meant to do it.
We do this work in whatever way
feels right to us,
if we are strong enough, that is.

And if we are not, what of it?
There is no one really there to judge you anyway.
The only real judge will be your pillow
at the end of the days’ work,
and if your sheets scratch you
or if they are warm.

You will lose friends in the course of this work,
they will forget you, they will lose sight of you,
but in time you will forgive them
or you will let them go,
if you or they cannot love they or you now,
you will have the memory of your love to fill the absence.

Your mind will play tricks on you, too,
it will find patterns of behavior to denounce you,
it will give every reason you can find
to move you away from this work.
So then, turn on some music,
put pen to paper or brush to canvas,
put voice to voice or body to body,
the sweetness of it will calm your mind,
it will tell your mind to run away
because just this once you were right.

This work is not easy, if you think about it.
But you’re doing it anyway.

Disappointments will decay,
bad timing and the wrong words
will be corrected and scratched off.

There will be some who will accuse you
of making excuses,
there will be some who will call you weak,
but they are only thinking of their own excuses
and their own weakness.

Time will go on because it must,
or else, what is the use of Time?
Time will be your friend in this work.
Time will give you aid and comfort,
because Time has never been your enemy.
So embrace the ticking of seconds.
It is as it is and how it must always be.
If you must count Time,
then count the moments of joy in this work,
count the moments you played with your children,
count the moments where you remember whom you have lost
with love and forgiveness.
They were only doing their work.

If you cannot take in or understand what the work has for you,
then take a bath,
take a long breath,
make that breath last for hours or days.
This work will wait for you,
the work will know that you have been engaged in it nonetheless.

In the course of your work,
there will be others who try
to make you see the value of their work.
It does have value, show the proper respect,
and continue with your own.

This work will make you cry, it will make you furious,
it will make you question the reason for your work.
So then continue with your work,
it will be waiting for you
when you are finished with your nonsense.

Do not try to explain the work of others,
their work is not your own,
and it will serve you nothing to dwell on it.

Do as your work demands,
this moment is all you really have,
and you know it.

So then love the work,
love it, hate it,
but do not forget it.

Join body to body,
thought to thought,
voice to voice.
Join brush to canvas,
or mouth to horn,
join drumstick to drumhead,
join pen to paper.
The only ones who will condemn you
are the ones who have never learned
the value of work.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 02 May 2012 17:53
Michael G. Finlay

Michael G. Finlay is a graduate of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Originally from Chicago he now lives in Nashville, TN.

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