“To Be of Use”

Blog Post #1

The poem “To Be Use,” in my opinion is a business owner or a boss describing a good employee to me. People that own a business or are a leader in a business are always looking for a good hard working employee. They do not have time to deal with people that they have to literally make them do something. In “To Be of Use,” it states “I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart, who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience, who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward, who do what has to be done, again, and again.” The phrase shows just how much they value someone who does what they are supposed to again and again without being told.

This poem in my opinion doesn’t just represent manual labor. There are many jobs out there that are just as hard mentally. There are lawyers and politicians that actually fight for the right things and spend many hours studying and working to keep the rights of people protected. Hard work is not just represented in the hard labor you do, but it is also determined by the mental aspect of hard work as well.  Hard work is something to be proud of, regardless of it being either manual labor or mental labor. “To Be of Use,” states “The people I love the best jump into work head first without dallying in the shallows.” This statement shows exactly how much just jumping into work is loved. Hard work is something to be proud of and will be noticed by everyone around you.


2 thoughts on ““To Be of Use”

  1. Overall, I agree with the fact that the author of this poem was trying to get across how strongly she felt about how people needed to, as she said, “jump into work head first.” I also agree that this poem was not necessarily speaking about hard manual labor, as it was simply talking about any job in general. The impression I got, as well, was that, whether you work manual labor in a field all day long, or work in hospital as a doctor all day long; that as long as you, as she says, “fully submerge yourself in the task,” that you are a strong worker. I agree with the blog that the author is just trying to show to that no matter the job, she just wants and likes people who try, and do their job to the best of their ability. The only thing I did not agree with one hundred percent, was when the blog author used the quote on “pulling the ox and who strain to move forward in mud and muck.” The blog post said they believe that was because the author was trying to say that the workers just do the same every day without being told every day. However, I thought that quote was more of a way to say that no matter what obstacles get in your way, that you can find a way to get around it and keep moving forward despite whatever circumstances.

  2. My opinion of work is anything that pushes you mentally or physically. That being said, I agree that Marge Piercy wasn’t only talking about manual labor. You think of building a house as work, but filling out forms at a desk would also be considered work. I find it hard that Piercy would be so literal, like when she says “I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,” (8). Does she love people who actually attach themselves to carts like an ox? No, she uses that as a description to help the reader visualize what she thinks a hard worker is like. Piercy’s poem isn’t directed at one specific type of work, but hard work in general. As long as you fully commit yourself to your work, jump right in to the hard jobs, and keep at it even when the going gets tough she is talking about you.

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