An ode to work

07/01/2015 § Leave a comment

Richard is a criminal barrister,
hanging around with rapists, drug dealers,
 wife-beaters, shoplifters.
Then comes home to kiss his wife.

Tim is an architect,
spending his days tramping around building sites,
negotiating with clients, contractors, planning officials,
and his evenings poring over plans,

Jonathan counsels those in despair.
What’s my life for? they ask him.

David hardly leaves the house,
communicating with global drug companies
 (no, not those sort of drugs)
from his home in the pretty Hampshire village.

Nick spends his time with sick and dying children,
and parents who are worried and maybe guilty.

There are people who spend their waking hours in pig or chicken “factories”,
enfolding themselves in protective clothing 
to keep out the horror.

Some mix concrete all day, or clean drains,
others shuffle paper, not really sure what for,
except they are paid, and can play in the band on Friday night.
Others are out at sea, reeling in fish
and the odd shark or dolphin.
Or on an oil rig, cut off from the world for months.

Many go to work to stare at screens
then come home and stare at more screens.
Looking at others’ lives,
they refuse to look at their own.

In this world of work
 we can hide from the world,
from our families, from ourselves.
From the fear, the emptiness, the sheer pain of living.

Or we can be with it all. Through our work we can become.
Work can cut us off from life, or connect us to it more powerfully.

It is our choice…



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