Thursday, March 01, 2018

Work of all kinds

This was last night's sunset, across the field opposite our house. We are snowed in, and it's pretty nice. 

I had hoped to go to the cinema later, but that was always a long shot. The plan now is to stay in bed and write.

I feel sorry for Dave, though. He's in the middle of an exciting woodwork project and the shed is so cold he can only go out there for twenty minutes at a time before his fingers are numb. He has told me that if I die before him he plans to turn the sitting room into an indoor workshop. 

Oh-oh. He's just shouted up to ask if I mind if he woodworks in the kitchen. No, Dave, that's fine, as long as I can get to the kettle. 

This week I came across a powerful poem that moved me so much I wanted to share it with you, so I emailed the poet, Alison Luterman, to ask her permission. She generously said yes. Thank you, Alison.

Invisible Work
Because no one could ever praise me enough,
because I don't mean these poems only
but the unseen
unbelievable effort it takes to live
the life that goes on between them,
I think all the time about invisible work.
About the young mother on Welfare
I interviewed years ago,
who said, "It's hard.
You bring him to the park,
run rings around yourself keeping him safe,
cut hot dogs into bite-sized pieces for dinner,
and there's no one
to say what a good job you're doing,
how you were patient and loving
for the thousandth time even though you had a headache."
And I, who am used to feeling sorry for myself
because I am lonely,
when all the while,
as the Chippewa poem says, I am being carried
by great winds across the sky,
thought of the invisible work that stitches up the world day and night,
the slow, unglamorous work of healing,
the way worms in the garden
tunnel ceaselessly so the earth can breathe
and bees ransack this world into being,
while owls and poets stalk shadows,
our loneliest labors under the moon.
There are mothers
for everything, and the sea
is a mother too,
whispering and whispering to us
long after we have stopped listening.
I stopped and let myself lean
a moment, against the blue
shoulder of the air. The work
of my heart
is the work of the world's heart.
There is no other art.
Alison Luterman

This poem can be found in Alison's book The Largest Possible Life (Cleveland State University Poetry Press). Alison's website is


Anonymous said...

Sunshine this morning and almost all the snow has been washed away - hope you are also enjoying the return to spring

damion said...
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