Thursday, November 01, 2007

Totally Optional Prompts: Work

My first Totally Optional Prompt post and my second poetry post this week. There's not much I really want to say about this one. Like the last it is rough and pretty much unedited. Perhaps in a year or two I might be able to pick it up and refine it, but not yet.

The Ballad of a Man
It has been claimed
that when he was young
he worked for a circus and
looked after the elephants.
When he’d had enough of
that he disappeared off into
the bush to become a good
keen man and to hunt
deer. Barry Crump was
out of it by then and the
glory days were gone and
he eventually emerged and
sashed and set off to
Auckland to make his fortune.
Instead he met my mother,
tried to leave but made the
mistake of returning one last
time to discover her standing
in his empty flat, crying tears
into her long blonde hair.
Then came work as a sales
rep, weeks on the road
selling blocks of toffee and
salt and vinegar chips,
until I was born and threw
another spanner in the works.
So there was bar work and
then bar manager work
and nights in a tuxedo playing
host at the old Mandalay
in Newmarket, the Sunday
Cotton Clubs, the Polynesian
weddings and the ballroom
dancing competitions.
Eventually the fat lady
sang and the curtain
closed and it was time
to move on again.
There was warehouse
work, then the recession
of the early 90s rolled in,
so there was time in the
fields, then the economy
improved and there was
more warehouse work and
ascending and descending
levels of seniority and
eventually there were only
a couple of years to
retirement and the
cold hard fact of being
unemployable, even
in this time of low
employment.

At first all he’d wanted
was freedom and after that
all he’d wanted was for
his family to be secure
and fed and happy, and
in the end his family would
say that he had lived his
life well and unselfishly
and that throughout he
had always done
good work.

8 comments:

Pauline said...

you wrote well of a life lived well

paisley said...

he had lived his
life well and unselfishly
and that throughout he
had always done
good work.

and what might i ask did he do for him.... i wish the days of struggle would make a small margin of time to define oneself.. i feel sad knowing that for many work is the only definition they ever attain....

Christy said...

I love how you used work to paint a portrait of this man's life. It seems like he lived a honourable life, worked hard to put food on the table for his family. For many that is enough.

Enjoyed reading this!

Christy

Alan Bender said...

What a nice tribute to the out-of-the -ordinary in the ordinary work of life.

gautami tripathy said...

A very good poem about a man who goes to work for a living in various ways.

tumblewords said...

A nice tribute and a good look at work - enjoyed this piece!

Sweet Talking Guy said...

What an interesting life he lived - there's a lot of scope for development here - thanks for sharing these thoughts.

Kate said...

Hello :-)

Scottish run was great today. Possibly a little faster than expected/preferred. There were some randoms and a bunch of members there and I don't think there'd be any issues with you just showing up, given that we're always trying to show off the club to potential newbies.

In any case, I definitely recommend doing some runs around Wilton's Bush/skyline etc.