Work to Be Done



Today we take a look at work, not the kind that brings in money; but, spiritual work.


The poet Marge Piercy writes about spiritually meaningful work in the poem for today - "To Be of Use". Motionpoems added color and movement. Below the poem, I added some commentary.


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 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.



My thoughts:

When we are young we often hear “not yet” you can’t drive yet, no, you can’t date yet. We understand that we "not yet" grown.


When we are just starting our careers we feel we are not yet fully developed as our adult lives and careers are in our future.



As mature adults we look to growing old with anticipation or maybe even fear because we still feel we are not yet there.


To be a complete human being – the one who is fully conscious of all that underlies all that underlies ordinary joy and sorrow, and of our own humanity, and yet keeps making the commitment to do the work - is the work of a lifetime.


Yes, there is always more to learn, to understand. If we let it, that can be part of the joy of living.


"Not yet" is the summary of our work now and for generations to come.


Film by Tamika Miller

Motionpoems