Song of Work

This entry is part 61 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011


Ochre and sienna slashed by tremulous
strains of green— here is where the furrows
were gutted by the wheel. It turned as all
things used for purpose dial to the next
toothed radial: what is it about labor
that burnishes the surfaces it works
over or levels down? Change me,
I begged my beloved, I begged the trees,
the light, the river that never needs to think
about changing course; that must hear
but never knows how difficult to keep one
note sustained, aloft in the dark.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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4 Replies to “Song of Work”

  1. …what is it about labor/that burnishes the surfaces it works/ over or levels down?…Change me,/I begged my beloved…


    That mute pebble rolled hither and thither
    when the river current rushes downstream
    after a thunderstorm, will it sit in the pond,
    remain where it is lodged, stay unchanged?
    In yet another rush, a stone crusher would
    remake it into jagged edged crystal shaped
    perhaps to a gem capping a band wrapped
    around a fragile finger: an artisan’s manner
    of altering the commonplace into a diadem.
    But how will I change you? Into what shall
    I change you? Would I were your Pygmalion,
    maybe then, I could find my Galatea in you.

    —Albert B. Casuga

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