New Years, New Times

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Necessary Work

Types of Necessary Work:
Getting up.
Going to work.
Eating breakfast; taking meds.
Watching for my eye to mend.
Watching as the candle burns.
Letting go to say goodbye.
Waiting. Letting a breeze
into the room.

More Types of Necessary Work:
Devising shapes with pens and 
Filling lines. New fonts
embossed on diary covers,
new years, new times. 

Necessary work finds a rhythm:
It’s necessary work to rest
So as to carry on
The necessary beat,
The necessary song
The necessary commute
The necessary job. The necessary 
tasks to pay the necessary bills.
The necessary ways that take
the necessary tills,
and toils.
The necessary hurts and the 
necessary pains, to be lived,
maybe lived again.
(For you, I hope not.)

It’s that day of the year when, as a yoga teacher I once had might say, many of us are already in the plane. We are thinking about the promises of the New Year, skipping through the motions of today, while perhaps looking forward to an early night or a celebration. For many of us, the thought is “Can it just be 2022, already?”

Despite the 2020, too/ two/ part II jokes, an abiding hope is that all in all the year to come will be a better one for all, in all manner of ways. My go-to message for birthday and Christmas cards is often along these lines, “May the year ahead be filled with all good things.” Of course, realistically, we know it is unlikely for a whole year – especially a whole decade – to be without trials and even tragedies. But celebratory card greetings are not the socially acceptable place to reflect on the width and breadth of life. Like the classic happily ever after ending in a candyfloss fairy tale (or contemporary K-drama) such greetings are a fictional parallel universe where we can indulge in all is good, all is well. Even the end of this poem, unlike What is it even all for?, ends with a fairy tale ending for you, dear reader: the poet’s wish is that you will not have to (re)live life’s necessary tilling, toiling, hurts and pains.

Such a candyfloss life or marshmallow world doesn’t make sense, of course. The sentiment is what counts. I wish for you that things will be good, better, best. As I wish for all of us that 2022 will be good, better, best. May it be a year of happily ever after for humanity and for the planet.

This poem is in Necessary Work, an unreleased collection that BeadedQuill still has in the wings and has no steam to typeset. In the meantime have a look at Jangle between Jangle, a collection of verse written in 2018 while jangling to-and-fro during the London commute.

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Published by BeadedQuill

Author of over 300 poems, also books, essays and short stories. Published in the Johannesburg Review of Books, Carapace and Type/Cast. BeadedQuill's titles are for sale via

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