Seriously Funny
{A Bumbershoot Special Feature}

Emrys Westacott

is Hagar Professor of Humanities and Professor of Philosophy at Alfred University in Western New York.

He has published numerous articles in various philosophy journals. His recent writing has also included short stories, plays and poetry, including poems published or forthcoming in Contemporary Rhyme and Measure.

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Once the work is done

It will be lovely once the work is done,
When tools are put away, and, finally,
We take our ease just sitting in the sun.

Of course, the work has been a lot of fun—
Even digging post holes manually
Is satisfying—once the work is done.

That wall we built. Each stone weighed half a ton!
But we kept going, and soon, happily,
We’ll have a place for sitting in the sun.

Sometimes, it’s true, I’ve wished we’d not begun.
After all, we could have easily
Just moved a few things round and said, “We’re done.”

But you could only rest on laurels won
By dint of graft performed heroically,
By scraping skin and sweating in the sun,

By never minding how the time has run
While we have jobbed and slogged, laboriously.
It will be lovely when the work is done,
Just to sit and watch the setting sun.