Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Good Day's Work

I admit now to defeat by the
     relentless onslaught
of a full laundry basket,
     leading its attack employing
a strategy that places,
     on opposing flanks,
last night’s dishes stacked 

     menacingly in the sink
near the window overlooking my
     yard succumbing to weeds.

I would resolve all of these matters intently,
and still have left the energy to make love.
That would be a good day’s work.

I am sometimes paralyzed by a
     blank page, a blank canvas,
and the two or three paintings
     left unfinished in the closet
for more than a year.
     Forget entirely any attempt
to repair the car engine,
     rewire electrical outlets,
or fix plumbing (the last foray
     being comically disastrous).

I would learn the trades of a dozen artisans
and still enjoy a night at the ballet.
That would be a good day’s work.

Solitude is impossible for me to bear
     for more than a day or two, but I
require that day or two regularly
     to preserve my sense of faith.
This thing called a career baffles me,
     being a person of many interests and
almost as many professions; it’s not the
     work that defeats me, rather it’s the need
to wake up and answer the question
     “Is this all?” with an emphatic “No.”

I would consider it a good day’s work to wake up smiling,
or if not smiling at least not as a grumpy, aging bastard.

When I punch the clock, shortly after
     a simple breakfast of toast,
homemade jam, and a
     pat or two of soft-ripened cheese,
I would walk perhaps three miles
     in silence by a small river,
my two girls beside me
     while they are still young enough
to hold my hands without 

     a hint of self-consciousness.

I would teach them something worth remembering.
That would be a good day’s work.

—Martin A. Bartels

1 comment:

  1. Hi Marty,
    I love this! Writing this poem looks to me like it was a good day's work. :) Beautiful.
    Miss you all,
    <3 martha b.