Mark R. Elias


Most every time it clangs on stone
This fork I'm thrusting into soil.
The blunt vibrations make me boil,
Make hot my blood, my sinew, bone,
And useless, anger at the toil.

I try a different angle or
Approach it from the other side.
I use my foot to help it slide,
The fork, to help it slide the more.
But still the stones provide, provide.

I sit down slowly with a groan
Aware this is a test of will.
A sudden wind gives me a chill
And moves about the house to moan.
Above, clouds bucket-grey hang still.

And as I scrape soil from my thumb
A robin hops into my view.
For worms? I've unearthed quite a few
And sweeter they than seed or crumb.
But no, he stands as if in glue

Atop the mound my work has made.
He darts his busy head about
And puffs his red breast in and out
As though his heart he has displayed,
A heart that never was in doubt.

Perhaps that heart though isn't his.
Perhaps it is mine all along
And maybe, though I might be wrong,
This robin but my spirit is:
Flighty, steadfast; fragile, strong.

Renewed, I see what it is worth
This cultivation work of mine.
I stand up straight and stretch my spine
And yank the fork out of the earth.
Then stab it back in. Stab it fine.

Submitted: Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Topic of this poem: work

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