Invisible Work (Poem by Alison Luterman)

Invisible Work (Poem by Alison Luterman)

Invisible Work Because no one could ever praise me enough, because I don't mean these poems only but the unseen unbelievable effort it takes to live the life that goes on between them, I think all the time about invisible work. About the young mother on Welfare I interviewed years ago, who said, "It's hard. You bring him to the park, run rings around yourself keeping him safe, cut hot dogs into bite-sized pieces for dinner, and there's no one to say what a good job you're doing, how you were patient and loving for the thousandth time even though you had a headache. And I, who am used to feeling sorry for myself because I am lonely, when all the while, as the Chippewa poem says, I am being carried by great winds across the sky, thought of the invisible work that stitches up the world day and night, the slow, unglamorous work of healing, the way worms in the garden tunnel ceaselessly so the earth can breathe and bees ransack this world into being, while owls and poets stalk shadows, our loneliest labors under the moon. There are mothers for everything, and the sea is a mother too, whispering and whispering to us long after we have stopped listening. I stopped and let myself lean a moment, against the blue shoulder of the air. The work of my heart is the work of the world's heart. There is no other art. --Alison Luterman

Invisible Work

Because no one could ever praise me enough,
because I don’t mean these poems only
but the unseen
unbelievable effort it takes to live
the life that goes on between them,
I think all the time about invisible work.
About the young mother on Welfare
I interviewed years ago,
who said, “It’s hard.
You bring him to the park,
run rings around yourself keeping him safe,
cut hot dogs into bite-sized pieces for dinner,
and there’s no one
to say what a good job you’re doing,
how you were patient and loving
for the thousandth time even though you had a headache.
And I, who am used to feeling sorry for myself
because I am lonely,
when all the while,
as the Chippewa poem says, I am being carried
by great winds across the sky,
thought of the invisible work that stitches up the world day and night,
the slow, unglamorous work of healing,
the way worms in the garden
tunnel ceaselessly so the earth can breathe
and bees ransack this world into being,
while owls and poets stalk shadows,
our loneliest labors under the moon.

There are mothers
for everything, and the sea
is a mother too,
whispering and whispering to us
long after we have stopped listening.
I stopped and let myself lean
a moment, against the blue
shoulder of the air. The work
of my heart
is the work of the world’s heart.
There is no other art.

 

by Alison Luterman

I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.

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