Saturday, November 5, 2011

Poem In Your Post Blog Hop: In honor of Sisyphus...

After working sixty hours again for what reason

The best job I had was moving a stone
from one side of the road to the other.
This required a permit which required
a bribe. The bribe took all my salary.
Yet because I hadn’t finished the job
I had no salary, and to pay the bribe
I took a job moving the stone
the other way. Because the official
wanted his bribe, he gave me a permit
for the second job. When I pointed out
that the work would be best completed
if I did nothing, he complimented   
my brain and wrote a letter
to my employer suggesting promotion
on stationery bearing the wings
of a raptor spread in flight
over a mountain smaller than the bird.
My boss, fearing my intelligence,
paid me to sleep on the sofa
and take lunch with the official
who required a bribe to keep anything
from being done. When I told my parents,
they wrote my brother to come home
from university to be slapped
on the back of the head. Dutifully,
he arrived and bowed to receive
his instruction, at which point
sense entered his body and he asked
what I could do by way of a job.
I pointed out there were stones
everywhere trying not to move,
all it took was a little gumption
to be the man who didn’t move them.
It was harder to explain the intricacies
of not obtaining a permit to not
do this. Just yesterday he got up
at dawn and shaved, as if the lack
of hair on his face has anything
to do with the appearance of food
on an empty table.
                         - by Bob Hicok

We've been studying words with origins in mythology and when I read this poem on the Poetry Out Loud website, I thought: Ha!  Here again is the relevance of myth to modern folk.  Our very lives take on a sisyphean cast most days, do they not?  And perhaps, as we're climbing into our professional attire and pushing that boulder up the mountain for the 364th time this year, with futility ever our companion, we may from time to time stride alongside a Muse or two, and catch a fleeting glimpse of Humor as she winks past.

What poem's captured your fancy today?  Share it with us in a link below or post it in the comments.



Parrish Lantern said...
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As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

Once again you've shamed me by sharing a poet I've never heard of, but this selection resonated with me. It is also timely vis a vis some of my reading lately because Sisyphus is a them in the Matched/Crossed books by Ally Condie, two YA books I enjoyed.

Did Achilles arrive?

Parrish Lantern said...

Crow Goes Hunting

Decided to try words.
He imagined some words for the job, a lovely pack-
Clear-eyed, resounding, well-trained,
With strong teeth.
You could not find a better bred lot.

He pointed out the hare and away went the words
Crow was Crow without fail, but what is a hare?

It converted itself to a concrete bunker.
The words circled protesting, resounding.

Crow turned the words into bombs-they blasted the bunker.
The bits of bunker flew up-a flock of starlings.

Crow turned the words into shotguns, they shot down the starlings.
The falling starlings turned to a cloudburst.

Crow turned the words into a reservoir, collecting the water.
The water turned into an earthquake, swallowing the reservoir.

The earthquake turned into a hare and leaped for the hill
Having eaten Crow's words.

Crow gazed after the bounding hare
Speechless with admiration.

Ted Hughes

Laurie said...

I've long admired Hughes' poems, and find this one to be an especially apt response to our theme today. Parrish Lantern, you are a wonder, and I am so grateful that you visit here and offer us new fodder for transcendence each week.

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