Rereading Marge Piercy’s poem To be of use just now, I’m moved by the way she celebrates the work of the world - common as mud, she says, and people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart . . . who move things forward . . . who do what has to be done, again and again.
I know what she means. I’ve just spent the last two weeks with a party of people harnessing themselves to common work - taking up jobs common as mud to aid a larger gesture and move it forward. There is a feeling of miracle to be in the midst of this moment together, despite feeling pulverized at the end of a day. The faces here are some of many who gave energies to move Ibu’s work forward by launching ali4ibu in 3 states and across the world wide web in a matter of one week. Piercy again:
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
The members of Team Ibu exercised extraordinary energies and loyalty beyond understanding harvesting the fields we have planted over the past year. And not just the team, but our whole larger family of allies in Charleston, New York, Connecticut. Each doing as she or he is able, and able to do with joy. Making beauty, taking pictures, checking out sales, greeting strangers, hosting friends, arranging details, sewing merchandise, sponsoring events, allowing 5 weary team members to camp in one’s house. What’s remarkable to me is how many ways there are to give. If only we know ourselves and our place of bounty, and find in that bounty, a way to be of use.
Our dedicated team working together inspires me daily. To all of you who jumped in at every request to fill the bucket, pass the tools . . . not parlor generals but a flowing movement moving to a common rhythm, doing what has to be done . . . I am celebrating you and this fine moment.
All the Best,
Susan Hull Walker