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Sunday 3 June 2012


He'll dance, she'll sing, he'll write, she'll bring
him meals to table twelve -
and all of them will call it work.

When acting parts or making stitches,
pulling carts or digging ditches,
playing ball or rigging boats,
just on call or hitting high notes,
all of them will call it work.

When photographing, contemplating,
selling cars or decorating,
restoring pictures, mending leaks
or re-upholstering antiques
all of them will call it work.

But some there are who just for fun
will do what others try to shirk,
while others yet, find fun and work
in schemes and tasks that most folk shun.

A ball may travel far, I've heard
impelled by force of bat -
and bat and ball will say it's work
because of energy transferred.

The energy transferred at work
can leave a body spent -
and I am mighty peeved to find
my pay is down a cent.

Energy's transferred as joules
which A spends in fond hopes of jewels.
B merely wants a cosy pad,
a place to hide when things get bad.

Energy, St Einstein  said
and mass are on a par.
E = MC2 - its truth
is writ in bomb and star.

He'll growl, she'll fret, he'll cry, she'll rage
at others earning more,
conditions in the works canteen
or on the factory floor.

He'll hardly notice time go by,
nor she when work refreshes.
He'll lose all track of common things,
they'll only care for quality
when work with mindset meshes.

Written for Stuart McPherson's prompt Workin' for it at http://dversepoets.com/


Claudia said...

ha nice...love that you include einstein..and love to do that kind of work that doesn't feel like work at all because it's just what i love to do and you hardly notice that time goes by...yep..that's perfection..

kaykuala said...

Rightly said Dave! Work is now a necessity to survive. We don't enjoy work and resent why others get more and are richer. Great thoughts!


A Cuban In London said...

It's a great combination of the work we do for pleasure but still call it work and the one that is just one notch up from menial chores. But what I loved the most about this poem was this line, mentioned briefly by Claudia above: "E = MC2 - its truth
is writ in bomb and star." Its impact is felt even more powerfully since it's sandwiched in between very playful and rhythmic lines. Yes, we often forget that Einstein was at work but... well, my son was studying Hiroshima and Nagasaki recently.

Great poem. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Brian Miller said...

the energy transfer section is really cool because we certainly expend it and hope that we get recognized for it...pay down, that is going around....but when you do really enjoy it, it sure does not seem like work...

Daydreamertoo said...

And real jobs will become fewer and fewer the more computers and machines take over them. The whole work/employment scene is changing drastically and kids need to get on the bandwagon of what jobs will be called for in the future or, all their schooling could be for nothing.
Through technology advancing at such a fast pace we are fast moving our human selves out of the work force

Janine Bollée said...

You say all that we think and wrap it up like Cadbury's Roses.

Kass said...

Nice, meaningful, lilting poem.

Unknown said...

cool write with a nice rhythm and beat thanks for sharing x

hedgewitch said...

I think you covered all the bases in this one Dave--and the last stanza sums it all up--when you are loving what you're doing, there's nothing that engages you more.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Great rhythm and energy. Working and flowing.

Mary said...

Very thoughtful! What's work to one person may be play to another.

stu mcp (hate & hope) said...

David- you nailed it!....exploring the contradictions and problems with this subject matter...what IS work...cooking and cleaning / the office/ writing- its all work...but what defines it- how it compares to 'others' values?...our own expectations?....you see..you captured the whole problem with this prompt right here!... Great poem...very much enjoyed and thank you for posting it!

The` Htut Win said...

Its so nice blog and informative

Windsmoke. said...

Who would have thought to write a rhythmic poem about the work you hate or enjoy. I enjoyed this one very much indeed its gotta be up there as one of you best yet :-).

ds said...

"St. Einstein" is a great touch--and true. How lucky it is to have work and mindset mesh, and how rare! Thanks for this.

Anonymous said...

You drew me in with the opening of this piece--and made me feel weary and underpaid by the end of it! Nicely put.

Anonymous said...

St. Einstein? Cool!

A new song comes to mind:

"Wisdom While You Work"!

pam prince said...

I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks. Pam

Dave King said...

Yup, some of us are luckier than we always realise, I think.

Some - the lucky ones among us - do enjoy work. Which I guess is what makes "work" such an ambiguous word.

A Cuban in London
thanks. Good and evil are so often the two sides of the one coin.

Yes, I have often thought it strange that the energy transfer idea is so applicable to work in all its forms. The flexibility of language, eh?

Daydreamer too
I sometimes feel that a lot of my teaching was for nothing, teaching literacy, for example - and now it seems they don't need to read; so many pieces of "literature" don't have words: just arrows and other sighns.

Ah, thanks for this - I love Cadbury's Roses!

Thank you so much!

Welcome and many thanks for your comment. Good to have you aboard.

Yes, that's the bottom line in both senses, I think.

Thank you. Kind comment.

Absolutely so. Thanks for the comment.

stu mcp
Hi and a warm welcome to you. My thanks for the prompt, your visit and the kind comment, all of which are very much appreciated.

The Htut Win
Thank you so much for the comment. Good to have you visiting.

You're right - I wouldn't have thought about it, that's all down to Stuart McPherson for his brilliant prompt. Thanks for your response.

Your kind response is very much appreciated. Thank you for it.

Hi, A warm welcome to my blog and my thanks to you for your sharing your thoughts.

Brilliant! Love it! Thank you so much - and welcome to the blog.

GHood to have you visiting and spearing time to comment. Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

Great how you captured the differences amongst the activities that we all give that same name, work!

Jenny Woolf said...

This will strike chords with many people.