True Work




True Work

I bend my back
then straighten at the waist

hunkered ‘neath the weight
I lift clean the load
the warehouseman’s refrain
always on my mind

back straight
lift with the legs

the first test — no result

I try a second
then a third

on and on
day after day
long hours in the lab

the formula must be perfect
only perfect will save lives

drywall must be flush
and plumb
also square and seamless

I set each sheet
with the level and the bob

then pause
to wipe my sweating brow

I curse my keyboard

do battle with fatigue

I coax the vision
to commit to screen
the first draft of my design

to then modify
and refine

until — the ultimate creation

these — and countless others

elements of the work I do
or did
or may yet do

and I am you
and you are me
and we are all together
in this constant labor
for our daily bread

but – this is not our true work

to bend to lift someone in need
to help carry their burden
until they again stand steady

to seek the components of peace
to formulate the dialog
that fosters understanding

to measure well my tolerance
to stand squarely flush
with truth and level justice

to visualize a free world
to create enduring possibility
for universal love

this — is the true work
in the final sweep
‘round the face of time

• • •

rob kistner © 2008


collage above entitled: “Soul Currency” — by: rob kistner © 2007

• • •



~ by Image&VerseToo on April 17, 2008.

45 Responses to “True Work”

  1. Wow! That was excellent! Beautifully done!

  2. ‘to visualize a free world
    to create enduring possibility
    for universal love

    this — is the true work’

    How I wish….

  3. Mad Kane –

    Thank you very much… 😉

  4. Gautami –

    Wishing may not make it so… but doing may just get one there.

  5. Noble work, all of it

  6. very nicely put together… a fine contrast between that which mankind will actually work for ,, and that for which we will just envision working for…sad… isn’t it????

  7. From here to Utopia in 60 lines, one for each minute “‘round the face of time.” The precision is breathtaking and writing superb.

  8. Pauline –

    Kind words, thank you… 😉

  9. Paisley –

    Thank you… 😉

    Most of us go through life, head down, nose to the grindstone, mostly taking care of our basic needs — and complain about the conditions in the world… instead of investing our energy in changing those conditions.

    Thus is the material treadmill upon which we’re thrust, especially in the western world — and on which we end up trapped… without knowing/realizing, or perhaps caring, we have a grander option.

    Being frightened animals, physically ill-suited (for the most part) for this world in which we dwell — we often are too invested in only our personal survival to see the bigger picture… to understand the question of balance.

  10. this would work on stage I think, with several speakers

  11. Alan =

    You’ve offered a very interesting perspective on the work… thank you! 😉

  12. Juliet –

    Yes, I see your vision. This would be engaging, presented by several readers — in a kind of statement call and reinforcement answer format… with perhaps even a repetitive background phrase being sung or chanted, blended quietly, interwoven.

    The “and I am you, and you are me, and we are altogether” phrase would make an excellent ongoing background, if done subtly.

    Your take on this has given me a very different grasp on what it is I’ve written. Thank you Juliet… 😉

  13. As I read the poem I could never anticipate the ending you gave it.
    what a lovely piece
    thanks for sharing

  14. Rambler –

    Thank you… it was a purposeful bit of misdirection. 😉

    …and you are most welcome.

  15. A noble and worthy poem, well layered and thoughtful.

  16. Nice– I like how the metaphors fit together. Also the idea that the “real” work isn’t, can’t be, completely separate from our everyday work.

  17. Tumblewords –

    Thank you…

  18. Tiel –

    Thank you… and no, the ‘true’ work must also be done daily if this world is to be a better place, on a higher level.

  19. Beautifully expressed Rob. I just looked at the prompt, and my first thoughts were similar to yours. i will have to think about how i will approach this week’s challenge…..but it will most definately be in the same vein as yours…….at least that’s where I’m at right now.

    Your words always stay with me.

  20. Awareness –

    Thank you for the compliment! 😉

    I had looked and the prompt on SS and TOP, and this is where my muse moved me… one work for both. Good luck with your piece.

  21. Amen. Those that are able to do both, take care of their needs and work for a better world, are the truly inspirational.

  22. to visualize a free world
    to create enduring possibility
    for universal love

    this — is the true work

    without this
    the world cannot work

    Amen indeed. A lovely piece, Rob.

  23. i am feeling true resonance after reading your piece, Rob. Beautifully stated and heartfelt.
    Your soul collage is just stunning as well!

  24. So very nicely put. I love how you communicate the real work we need to do.

  25. How very profound! Excellent work!

  26. Matthew –

    Yes they are!

  27. Jo –

    Thank you… 😉

  28. Jennifer H. –

    I appreciate you kind words… 😉

    I’m pleased this piece touched you!

  29. Patois –

    Thank you… 😉

  30. SA Mama –

    You are most gracious… 😉

  31. Superb as always. to measure well my tolerance
    “to stand squarely flush
    with truth and level justice” what a great stanza. The transition in the poem was divine.

  32. I must say, in my opinion, this is one of the best ‘works’ you’ve ever done. I absolutely loved it. Very touching.

  33. Lisa –

    You are very kind… 😉 …thank you!

  34. Just Jen –

    Wow… I am pleased you enjoyed this!

    Thank you… 😉

  35. I agree…with lots of practise I would die happy and content, penniless maybe 🙂 Thank you.

  36. Boy I love these smilies you have here, do you mind if I try one more? 😀 or this maybe :p – sorry – went over board, but couldnt help it. Thanks – UL

  37. UL –

    I think to die happy and content we must first live as unselfishly as we are able — and as human beings, that is not easy. We are, I believe, pleasure and comfort seeking by our nature. We are therefore primarily focused on ourselves — as well we should be for our survival and sense of self-actualization… both important if we are to be of any real value to others.

    The key to feeling truly fulfilled (happy & content) is finding satisfaction in being of service to others — not something we are, by our nature, readily disposed to… but something that, when practiced, brings great joy to our higher self. The result is a deeper, lasting contentment.


  38. UL –

    I’m sorry, only one smilie per customer… 😉

  39. I was plasterboarding today, but that isn’t my true work either. You have put so much thought into this.. and universal love? Wow!

  40. STG –

    Hope you got things ‘true, plumb, & square’ and hid the seams well… 😉

    To not envision the possibility of universal love is to make such a concept unattainable. One cannot achieve that which one cannot perceive.

  41. I had inteneded to say something but all of the above stole my thunder.

  42. sorry I haven’t been around in awhile, crazy busy!
    this is a good view on life and how we should pursue things. I liked it 😀

  43. Profound thoughts and wishes for a world that works together! You have some beautiful lines in here!

  44. So many powerful lines in this poem…masterpiece.

  45. Rob, Wow what a poem Well it worked then and it is still a great piece of work. Loved it and the Photo too.

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