Then a ploughman said, Speak to us of Work.
And he answered, saying:
You work that you may keep pace with
the earth and the soul of the earth.
For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons,
and to step out of life's procession, that marches in majesty
and proud submission towards the infinite.
When you work you are a flute through
whose heart the whispering of the hours
turns to music.
Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent,
When all else sings together in unison?
Always you have been told that work is
a curse and labour a misfortune.
But I say to you that when you work you fulfil
a part of earth's furthest dream, assigned to you
when the dream was born,
And in keeping yourself with labour you
are in truth loving life,
And to love life's labour is to be intimate
with life's innermost secret.
But if in your pain you would call birth an affliction
and the support of the flesh a curse
written upon your brow,
then I answer that naught but the sweat of your brow
shall wash away that which is written.
You have been told that life is darkness,
and in your weariness you echo what
was said by the weary.
And I say that life is indeed a darkness
save when there is urge.
And all urge is blind save when there is knowledge,
And all knowledge is vain save when there is work,
And all work is empty save when there is love;
And when you work with love you bind
yourself to yourself, and to one another,
and to God.
And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn
from your own heart,
even as if your beloved
were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved
were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and
reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved
were to eat the fruit.
It is to charge all things you fashion
with a breath of your own spirit,
And to know that all the blessed dead
are standing about you and watching.
Often have I heard you say, as if speaking in sleep,
"He who works in marble, and finds the shape
of his own soul in the stone,
is nobler that he who ploughs the soil.
And he who seizes the rainbow to lay it on a
cloth in the likeness of man, is more
than he who makes the sandals for our feet."
But I say, not in sleep but in the over-wakefulness of noontide,
that the wind speaks not more sweetly to the giant oaks
than to the least of all the blades of grass.
And he alone is great who turns the voice
of the wind into a song made sweeter by
his own loving.
Work is love made visible
And if you cannot work with love but only
with distaste, it is better that you should
leave your work and sit at the gate of the
temple and take alms of those who work with joy..
For if you bake bread with indifference
you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man's hunger
And if you grudge the crushing of the
grapes, your grudge distills a poison in the wine
And if you sing though as angels, and
love not the singing, you muffle man's ears
to the voices of the day and the voices of