Get To It

From an ignorant child you’d never learn it.

Yet the sophisticated know it is work

That is the secret of the good life. God forbid,

Not labor that breaks your back, picking

Vegetables, cleaning toilets, laying down

That steaming hot blacktop on summer days.

Nothing that crushes your body to fine powder.

No, no, nothing as crude as dirty work like that.

They are, after all, wise in the world’s ways, those

Who mean a career, achievement, a steady craft,

Day in and day out whether you like it or not,

Whether it involves crushing others or ignoring

Them, playing dumb and innocent, bad

Faith to be sure, tapping at a keyboard as you

Lie or steal to build your innocent dream

House, construct your illusions to hide from truth

As you sell your soul to the money lenders, those

Who hunt and kill the poor everywhere. Sometimes

It is couched as art or intellect.  Get something down

Every day. It is not important what it is or that

It doesn’t serve to salve the wounded ones. Regularity is what

Counts, a daily drop in the bucket of fugacious waste,

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, creeping

Through a petty pace in petty pursuits in petty lives.

All wise and happy people know it.

A career a work a task to call your own, to say

I am a lawyer, a professor, a journalist, anything

With a name, a title, a way to be but not become,

A way to say that dusty death can never

Claim that you have lived an idiot’s life, wasted

Work in time that you will never have again.

Real work true work regular work,

So merry Rodin advised the sad young poet Rilke,

Work, work, work, my boy, never cease

From toiling over your clay world of words.

Exactly why he never said exactly,

Except I guess he meant it would bring benefit.

And bubbly Freud’s advice is legendary.

You need work that is yours, so too

Some love, but mostly work to keep you jolly

Sane. Life is a long and lonely vale

Of tears, so you must find your work and do it

Whether you like it or not. Civilization is a

Valley of deep discontent, pleasure

Might come to you later, a little here

Or there, once you get regular, down to it

Daily. Success will rise to greet you,

The sweet smell of success.


From an ignorant child you’d never learn it.