Thursday, March 15, 2012

Friday writings for Randos - To be of use

{Friday Writings for Randos - A weekly post that features pieces from other writers that touch some facet of the Randonneuring experience, even if that was not the author's intent. It's stuff that's best read out loud - slowly.} This week it's . . .

 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 muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

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.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil
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.


  1. That is a fine poem ... thanks! Found your blog from There and Back Again and am enjoying exploring your site and going back into your archives a little. Signed up for my first-ever populaire ... a St Patrick's Day ride nearby in MA. It should be fun, not so long and reasonably flat.

  2. Hi there,
    Tried to leave a comment yesterday, but either blogspot didn't let me or you deleted it? Anyway, found you through There and Back Again. It's very fun investigating your site. Your Friday Writings for Randos is a brilliant idea, wish it was mine ... though I wouldn't be able to maintain it so well as you have. A fine poem by Piercy, haven't read her for years.

    My first, short, 100K brevet is Sunday, so I read your postings with a newbie's interest!

  3. Hi back at you! I didn't delete the post (I am happy to get a response, since it confirms that someone, beside me, is actually reading this stuff) so thanks for trying again. Glad to hear you are enjoying the submissions, its an interesting project to see if others get the connections I make or at least find the attempt interesting.

    I hope your event goes well. In the short couple years I've been at this, it seems that the folks who like it seem to know right away - but then again the same thing may be said for the one's who don't. Either way, it should be a day to remember. Check out the seven commandments for cycling at the top of the blog. Its probably the best advice for a newbie in a concise format I've seen. Maybe that's why its lasted so long? Anyway, Bonne Route!