The Real Work

Wendell Berry’s poetry is never very far from my consciousness. This poem resonates now as I contemplate a change in story. My story now, as I edge day-by-day toward “retirement,”  is a litany of this, “Well, that’s the last time I assign that or mark that or do that or share that.”   In Berry’s poetic mind, I am just coming to the real work, the real journey, the real bafflement, the real song.  It certainly feels that way.

I created these two digital artifacts so that I could come to terms with Berry’s assertion.  And it is only that–an assertion. He could be maximum wrong, himself baffled and baffling, embattled and battling.  Not to worry.  This is poet’s logic and filled with the hedgewitch magic of metaphor. I believe.  As a grown up man I can’t complain. I can only accept the unassailable rightness of it. Work is my lot and ever more work shall feed me and mine.  Now the real work is to become a good ancestor.





  1. // Reply

    As we travel through life, the formal jobs we hold, as well as informal jobs of raising a family, are important and mind consuming work. Yet, filling the hours when not employed, or once the kids are grown and have left the home, with meaningful activities, may be, as you say, the “real work”.

  2. // Reply

    As always, our mileage may vary but it looks like we are on the same wavelength. And that is a good thing.

    1. // Reply

      His book of essays, The Long-Legged House, was our inspiration to move to the country and take up sheep farm. At least, I blame/credit him depending on which side of the bed I get up on.

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