They call it that
Because it is hard
And because it does not end
And you cannot leave it,
Though it may leave you.

It is a hardbitten,
Anglo-Saxon word,
The sound of an axe
Brought down
In bitterness
On the growth
Of a vast and lonely

Is a word
That followed us
From Eden,
Mocked us,
Made us sweat
And curse,
No matter
What we achieved.

We are supremely blessed
To know this curse:
Poised at the top of Creation
And yet held within it,
We alone
Know infinite toil:

As our bodies never stop
Regenerating, recycling,
Sorting --
Rejecting, Absorbing --
So we are alone
Among all creatures,
Sculpting ourselves
Out of sand,

Fashioning universes
Out of found objects
And each others'
Dangerous brilliance.

Say with me
This prayer:

Let my work
Be Your work.

Let my effort
Bear fruit.

Let my desire
Take wing.

i am
In Your employ.

My fruit
Is borne of
Your mighty tree.

i rise
Toward you,
Bearing that
Lightest of burdens:

What little
i have done
That might earn
And spread
Your blessing.

--Mr. Gobley


Richard Lawrence Cohen said...


Alison said...

I want to feel like my work is His work but I don't. It's just work. So this is another of your prayers that I will repeat as my own.

(good thing prayers can't be copyrighted)

dilys said...

As usual, coming here has enriched me.

karen said...

Right now we are feeling over-worked. We will be selling 20 cows to make the load(literally :0)) lighter.

I am going to photocopy this poem for my husband to put up in the barn. Hopefully, knowing that one other person can put how he feels about work into words- my husband can repeat and absorb the parts he doesn't feel- like Ali will.

I'm glad to see you're writing more:0).

karen said...

Ali- maybe the most important work, you as a Mother- is His work and the rest is just necessary stuff we have to pray hard to get through.

Yup, thank God for mr. gobley's prayerful talent.

Shahnazzz said...

This marvelous poem is just what I needed to read on Sunday evening as I dread the thought of showing up in office tomorrow. Thank you for pointing out what I needed to see, especially other people's dangerous brilliance.