Monday, July 20, 2009

After 40 years of working, this sums it up ...

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 the 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 stand in the line and haul in their places,
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.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Meeting: An Audio Essay

I've been a government employee for almost 30 years. Meetings are a big part of my life. But I rarely enjoy them.

The following audio essay captures how I feel after so many meetings, especially the "good" meetings. I produced it this weekend after a particularly difficult meeting.

I've been experimenting with a new software application for producing podcasts. This essay gave me an excuse to try it out.

Click here to hear "The Meeting: An audio essay". It's absurd, dark and cynical but I was trying for a different vibe. If the link above doesn't work, visit here and click the play button. Enjoy.

A tip of the headphones to Joe Frank . Visit here for Joe Frank's podcasts.