War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

hazards of the job

I stopped by the bakery on my way home from dropping daughter to school at an unGodly hour. bought a loaf of good Italian bread. and a sticky bun to go with the misto I got along the way. the bakers were 2/3rds done their shift. 0200hrs start time. no staff in, one of the bakers helped me. took my money.

I looked at him. tired physically from all that lifting, shaping, baking. thousands of loaves of good bread, buns, sweets and savouries. as he handed me his change I noticed the burn scars up both his arms. some fresh burns raw and red chevrons. untended to. part of the job.

I know infanteers who are partially deaf in their rifle ear. more than a few jumpers with ruined backs, ruined legs, ruined heels. some were told they’d never walk again. some have nightmares. sweats. some carry maps in their pockets of the super market with all the exits marked out so that when they go shopping they know how to get out fast. once I went grocery shopping with an A’stan vet and he stuck to me like a toddler. I didn’t realize at the time that he needed to. I just marched into the store as I always do (I’m a surgical strike shopper), strode directly to the cranberry juice aisle, backed up right into the infanteer. he was standing that close. had followed me so silently. (it broke my heart to be honest that I hadn’t realized he needed me to be so near).

every profession has its hazards. nurses hurt their backs lifting patients or sometimes get assaulted. teachers, sometimes are despised. business men treat personal relationships like deals. horseback riding instructors get kicked…

and I wonder about poets. the hazards of the job. besides the obvious ones.

1 Comment (Closed)


Poets are anonymous. Poets are misunderstood. Poets are unrecognized as they walk amongst us. We don’t see their deafness, their fears, their burns, their emotions.
You walk up the juice aisle—how many know what you do, what you’ve seen, what you’ve written, how you’ve translated raw life into words?
You are in a profession, Shakespeare to Frost and hundreds more I could name, whose work is considered irrelevant to daily life except to those who take time to pay attention. Or, sing or rap it—not thinking of it as poetry.
You are one of the exceptional, who not only sees but identifies human conditions and emotions normally hidden inside of others.
You and the centuries of other poets are God’s gifts to humanity. As essential as warriors and bakers, and no less burnt.

May 01 2011 · 09:53

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled hazards of the job. It was posted here on April 20, 2011.


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