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Invisible Work — Alison Luterman Poem

Filed under Podcast
poems about life

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Invisible Work

By Guest Blogger Alison Luterman

Because no one could ever praise me enough,

because I don't mean these poems only

but the unseen

unbelievable effort it takes to live

the life that goes on between them,

I think all the time about invisible work.

About the young mother on Welfare

I interviewed years ago,

who said, "It's hard.

You bring him to the park,

run rings around yourself keeping him safe,

cut hot dogs into bite-sized pieces for dinner,

and there's no one

to say what a good job you're doing,

how you were patient and loving

for the thousandth time even though you had a headache.

And I, who am used to feeling sorry for myself

because I am lonely,

when all the while,

as the Chippewa poem says, I am being carried

by great winds across the sky,

thought of the invisible work that stitches up the world day and night,

the slow, unglamorous work of healing,

the way worms in the garden

tunnel ceaselessly so the earth can breathe

and bees ransack this world into being,

while owls and poets stalk shadows,

our loneliest labors under the moon.

There are mothers

for everything, and the sea

is a mother too,

whispering and whispering to us

long after we have stopped listening.

I stopped and let myself lean

a moment, against the blue

shoulder of the air. The work

of my heart

is the work of the world's heart.

There is no other art.

See Alison reading it here with Jack Kornfield

About Alison Luterman

Alison Luterman is a poet, essayist and playwright. Her books include the poetry collections Desire Zoo (Tia Chucha Press), The Largest Possible Life (Cleveland State University Press) and See How We Almost Fly (Pearl Editions) and a collection of essays, Feral City (SheBooks). Luterman's plays include Saying Kaddish With My Sister, Hot Water, Glitter and Spew, Oasis, and The Recruiter and the musical, The Chain.

 Her writings have been published in The Sun, The New York Times, The Boston Phoenix, Rattle, The Brooklyn Review, Oberon, Tattoo Highway, Ping Pong, Kalliope, Poetry East, Poet Lore, Poetry 180, Slipstream, and other journals and anthologies.

Alison has taught at The Writing Salon in Berkeley, the Esalen Institute, and the Omega Institute, as well as at high schools, juvenile halls, and poetry festivals.

RESOURCES

For fantastic coaching, classes or editing hire Alison here.

Get Alison's poetry books here.

Alison is on staff as my sound bite specialist. Get her media coaching here. (Students in my courses rave about her!)

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Are you enjoying the Podcast? Then I invite you to hop on over to iTunes to subscribe, rate + review it. Here’s a quick video on how to do a podcast review on iTunes. (It’s simple if you follow these directions). Note: It can take up to 24 hours to show up on my Podcast. You're welcome to send this to anyone you think it would delight. May good fortune always follow you!

Want to know how to subscribe on your phone? Watch this video.

Want to be a guest on my Podcast? Jet me an email with your topic and a link to your bio here.

Send Susan a Voice Message!

Click below to send me your voice message with a question or topic you’d like to hear more about in my upcoming podcasts! I will answer the most pressing and popular ones in a future episode. (I’ll mention your first name ONLY to protect your privacy.)

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