work at something you love


… to Janne with love…

work at something you love
’cause work wasn’t meant to be a picnic
isn’t just highs and deep realizations…
but drudgery and pettiness, and remaining true
through the worthless moments…
going back to hoe another rut again
under the hot sun, breathing the gray fog
carrying meaningless loads… of something
that should have been thrown away last year
being kind to complaining animals
who think they have it coming to them,
straining at the ropes… barking through the fence…
remembering that those old tiles on the footpath
were going to be replaced long ago
looking at the salesman’s catalogues, thinking…
what’s the minimum that I can buy
to keep this old farm still going
and avoiding the glamour, and the color,
and the promised miracles…
getting up when you’re still tired
keeping on when it looks like hope is gone…
the horse has blinders, but you just have purpose
and a fading commitment that doesn’t make sense
if you love your work…
if it doesn’t come out right the first time… or the second…
who’s counting… when it’s been all day…
rubbing in that old stain… till you’re carried away
the doctor heals the sick… and there are more sick
from here to the end of life, than we could imagine…
facing sad eyed misery, again and again…
from the road cleaner to the laundry man
to the cook in the hash house who’s fried more eggs
than there are flies round the garbage can.
from the man on the assembly line to the boss himself
there are excuses and embarrassments and expectations
mistakes and retakes and going through the motions…


so love your work and await the sublime
which makes up for what happened that other time…


68 responses to “work at something you love

  1. Beautiful, so beautiful… Thank you dear Shimon, have a nice day and weekend, Love, nia

  2. What a heartfelt piece with much wisdom learned the hard way I imagine.I love your poetry even when it is sad……. .. and hoping you will have quiet meditative weekend
    The Sabbath is an oasis for peaceful listening to the winds

    • Yes, the Sabbath helps put things into perspective. I didn’t really think this poem was sad. What I was feeling as I wrote it, was that when you truly care about what you’re doing, you can enjoy it thoroughly… it can even reach the sublime. My reference to the sublime was not heaven… but the sublime that is reached sometimes in hard work.

  3. Fabulous….thank you. Wishing you a Joy Full day:)

  4. Ah! Love it, and all the “work” that fueled its creation, Shimon! I needed this reminder today and to have it so lovingly and imaginatively offered is gift indeed. 🙂 Thank you.

  5. Mr. Shimon, Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom through your beautiful poem. I can use it today and everyday. Enjoy the weekend.

  6. Rays of light coming through the clouds. Thank you for your words, Shimon. They are uplifting, and inspiring.

  7. An encouragement from somebody who does what he loves but knows that often it means grit and persistence rather than glamour and satisfaction. In an age that demands instant satisfaction, we need to be reminded of this often.

    • Yes, Gillyk, I think you understood me exactly. I got some mails since I published this post, and realized that some people just caught the dismal side of what I was saying. But my point was that when you put your heart into it, it can be very good.

  8. I love you poetry, Shimon. And that giant pomegranate is amazing!

  9. sometimes it takes a while to figure out what it is that you love … after you have stripped away everything else, what do you cling to? what helps sustain you for another day? do that … and then do it some more

    lovely poem, and love how you always manage to travel an entire journey with just a few carefully chosen words … beautifully constructed

    • Yes, I agree N. Sometimes we have preconceptions about what’s right… or we love something from afar… and it gets in the way of what we’re doing. But when we try to love something that’s close… even if it seems a bit of a burden at first… we often find that there’s a lot to love in it. Thank you so much for your kind words about my poetry.

  10. Ah yes, I can relate to this. Wonderfully written and a tribute to your dear Janne. I smiled at the complaining animals….says it all for sure. I’m becoming very fond of Janne, she sounds the salt of the earth.xxxx

    • Janne has been a friend for many years, but since she gave me shelter in the storm, I’ve learned to appreciate her in a way I never did before. I learn from her all the time. I’m sure you would love her too, Dina. xxx

  11. This is just excellent, Shimon, such a true review of the realities of life!

  12. Await the sublime. But don’t wait too long.

    • Some people wait for the sublime all their lives, and yet… enjoy the anticipation. But from my own experience, I can say that when you learn to love what you’re doing, the wait isn’t long at all.

  13. An inspiring poem with expressive words of wisdom.

  14. A very beautiful, moving piece of writing Shimon!

  15. I feel at home here, into the many facets of the flow of words and emotions, yours, ours, of all mankind…
    And most of all, it’s difficult to let everything go, once and for all… since our path, beyond life, beyond what holds us back, it is immaterial!
    I wish you a lovely day 🙂 claudine

    • I believe, Claudine, that when we’re at the end of our live, we need release from these worldly concerns like a tired man needs sleep. But as long as I’m on my way, I try to concentrate on life itself, not worrying what the future will bring. Thank you so much for your beautiful comment.

  16. If someone has to work in a coal mine or driving an underground train they may not love it at all.They may be glad to earn a living.So you could say it gives them something to be proud of.And they may enjoy meeting their workmates.
    Some women hate housework.If you are not working outside the home and must do cleaning/washing/caring for others, I believe it is possible to do the work as a kind of meditation and as an act of love for your family…regardless of what society thinks of it. [We know care workers here get the lowest pay].?
    I find cooking can be meditation but men I worked with said it was boring…..
    So is our perception of what we are doing important….I think it is very important.
    Not all of us can do creative work like you but some can make it creative by their perceptions.

    • What I was writing about, Mary, was the nature of work itself. And in fact, I was relating to all work… including coal mining and so called creative work. What I was saying was that it is a mistake to think that another job is better. The creative artists has to face the same disappointments, tedium, and failure that the coal miner must endure. And in many cases, being underpaid is part of the package. Those that hate what they do, will suffer all their life. And those who love what they do, will enjoy the uplifting moments that are a part of work, and seeing the fruits of their work. I am sorry if I was misunderstood… but that is only to be expected, as part of the burden of the creative work.

  17. That is a richly-woven piece of writing, Shimon. It’s capable of interpretation on so many levels. I loved reading it.

  18. Beautiful poem and sentiment, Shimon! And, as always, I really like your photographs.

  19. Pingback: Looking Down and More… | The World Is a Book...

  20. Wonderful and precious words 🙂

  21. it is work so get it done
    later you may have some fun
    if you are late 😉 better run
    without work, holidays are not fun

  22. Beautiful, and oh so true! And I too love your photos. Thank you Shimon.

    • So glad you liked the photos, Madhu. I like yours too. How wonderful a miracle to meet people from far away, so easily by way of the internet. Thank you for your comment.

  23. Drudgery & pettiness – and yes, remaining true.

    Liked this one too, Shimon. Love the ramble of it, and how you change directions. You were obviously in a poetic mood, & you said it so well.

    • What I was trying to say, Noeleen, when I mentioned the drudgery and the pettiness… is that these are things we have to deal with in most of the different paths in life. But when we love something or someone, we’re able to suffer it, and make up for it with the pleasures of that love. Thanks so much for your comment.

  24. I always enjoy hearing your take on the world, and the way you express it. This is no exception – particularly the way the text is book-ended by those tow photos – so perfect! It all hangs together naturally. And yes, it’s quite true that the boring, tedious aspects of work are much more easily tolerated if we’re doing something we care about. But you said it with style!

    • Thank you very much, bluebrightly. Always a pleasure to share with you… and especially so when you enjoy my photos. Because yours are always a great pleasure for me.

  25. The pomegranate – symbol of creative renewal, the big ‘do-over’ and over and over, according to Greek myth. What wise words, Shimon, and thank you for the much needed reminder that while we live and breathe we do have the luxury of being able to try again.

    • Yes, the pomegranate is a wonderful fruit. When I eat it, I feel a surge of strength right away, and according to Jewish tradition, it is the symbol of fertility and abundance. I love this statue. Thanks for your comment, Tish.

  26. Wonderful sentiment in this post. I’m paraphrasing here, but someone once said we each can find our purpose “where our passion meets the needs of the world.” Work at something you love – which is something I finally found.

  27. Knowing what she must, being inside the story, I can only imagine that she enjoyed it more than I did, being outside of it. Such sweet encouragement for your Janne…how wonderful.

    • Thank you very much, Scott. I think she did like this poem very much. And I’m very glad that you were able to enjoy it too. I know you have worked at some really hard jobs, so you know what I’m talking about.

  28. So true, Shimon. Thank you for that important reminder. And Happy Hanukkah!

  29. Hmmm….what is a ‘hash house’?
    Pomegranates for you and Janne and a belated Happy Chanukah, shimon. 🙂

    • As you might know, Janina, English is not my first language, nor a language that I often use, so some of my words and expressions might be archaic, and gleaned from reading old literature. ‘hash house’ is an expression I encountered in a number of places describing cheap restaurants, or diners that cater to working people, where there isn’t a big menu, and people eat what’s available to be served. Thanks for your good wishes. It was a very nice holiday.

      • :….nor a language that I often use….” — a huge LOL, and LOL again!
        Now why did I think you didn’t have a sense of humour? I guess you must have written this lovely poem in Hebrew and then used Bing Translate to English….LOL again! 😀
        As to the ‘hash house’, I was hoping you would enlighten me as I had heard that term a few years ago, on my travels up North, in the Kimberley, in a very rough, pioneering sort of town. It seemed to me that ‘hash’ was a shortening of the word ‘hashish’, which as you know is a drug that gets smoked, I think?! I never asked anyone in the town what it meant. However, I have to admit, I just can’t see you doing drugs, somehow, but, then, of course, I didn’t know you in your younger days…. 😉

        • My dear Janina, I would love to be with you at the very moment you laugh out loud, or roll on the floor laughing. I love laughter myself. But as it happens, the language I love and use to communicate with my fellow man and woman every day of my life is Hebrew. I learned English more than half a century ago, as a student… and used it only occasionally to read for about forty years after that… and because of the internet, started using it again. I have smoked hash and enjoyed it… unlike certain famous people, I will admit that I actually took it into my lungs… and it was a good experience. But in the case of my poem, I wasn’t referring to that hash. I was quite a character in my younger days, and would willingly go back for a few hours, if just to meet you and amuse you with my antics… but as we live so far apart, I suppose we’ll have to be satisfied with what is available these days. Thanks for your comment. It had me smiling too.

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