No More Dallying in the Shallows: Let’s See What it Looks Like When Teachers Jump into Work Headfirst. “The people I love the best
 jump into work head first 
without dallying in the shallows 
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.”*
 A Poem for Vogel-Wetmore.

I thank Marge Piercy for a poem that for me describes the teachers in Vogel-Wetmore’s classrooms, classrooms where, despite tremendous poverty, the kids excel year after year. It’s HARD WORK ALL THE TIME–hard work from both teachers and kids. 185 Labor Days that aren’t days off. —Patty

 To Be of Use*

The people I love the best
 jump into work head first 
without dallying in the shallows 
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.

They seem to become natives of that element,
 the black sleek heads of seals
 bouncing like half-submerged balls.

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.

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 work of the world is common as mud.

Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.

But the thing worth doing well done 
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.

Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
 Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums 
but you know they were made to be used.

The pitcher cries for water to carry and a person for work that is real.

Marge Piercy

Patty 9/1/12