Poem introduction

I don't introduce myself as a poet if I am at a gathering - it's an embarrassing category, most people don’t read poetry, most literary people don't read poetry - but if I'm introduced as such I can't deny it. On the part of total strangers half or a third my age, there's a great concern for my livelihood, "you know you can't make a living as a poet", or "do you write poetry all the time?" I say no, I go to parties occasionally, I don't write poetry all the time. Anyway, in answer to that question about my living, I wrote 'Self Employed'

Self Employed

For John Smith

Piling up the years
I awake in one place
And find the same face
Or counting the time
Since my parents died -
Certain less is left
Than was spent -
I am employed
Every morning
Whose ore I coin
Without knowing
How to join
Lid to coffer
Pillar to groin -
Each day hinges
On the same offer


from New & Selected Poems (New English Library, 2005), copyright © Samuel Menashe 2005, used by permission of the author

Sponsor this poem

Would you like to sponsor this poem? Find out how here.

Recordings

Samuel Menashe

Samuel Menashe Downloads

1Roads Run Forever...

£0.89

2Warrior Wisdom

£0.89

3All my friends are homeless...

£0.89

4Winter

£0.89

5The Dead of Winter

£0.89

6Downpour

£0.89

7AprilX

No preview avaialable.£0.89

8April (Fool)

No preview avaialable.£0.89

9Sudden Shadow

No preview avaialable.£0.89

10She who saw the moon last night...

£0.89

11The Bare Tree

£0.89

12The Host

£0.89

13Landmark

£0.89

14Family Plot

£0.89

15Awakening from Dreams

No preview avaialable.£0.89

16Oh lady lonely as a stone...

No preview avaialable.£0.89

17The friends of my father

£0.89

18Full Fathom Five

£0.89

19Descent

£0.89

20Memento Mori

£0.89

21Forever and a Day

£0.89

22At a Standstill

£0.89

23The Oracle

No preview avaialable.£0.89

24On the Level

£0.89

25Self Employed

£0.89

26Curriculum Vitae

£0.89

27In my Digs

No preview avaialable.£0.89

28Tenement Spring

£0.89

29A pot poured out...

No preview avaialable.£0.89

30Off the Wall

£0.89

31Pity Us

No preview avaialable.£0.89

32At Millay's Grave

£0.89

33Take any man...

£0.89

34Telescoped

£0.89

35O Many Named Beloved

£0.89

36Promised Land

£0.89

37Adam Means Earth

£0.89

38Reeds Rise from Water

£0.89

39Manna

£0.89

40Stone would be water...

£0.89

41If I were as lean as I feel...

£0.89

42The Shrine Whose Shape I Am

£0.89

43As the tall, turbaned...

£0.89

44Old as the Hills

No preview avaialable.£0.89

45Shade

£0.89

46Just Now

No preview avaialable.£0.89

47Gray Boulder

£0.89

48Rural Sunrise

£0.89

49Waterfall

No preview avaialable.£0.89

50Pastoral

£0.89

51Star-Crossed

£0.89

52Western Wind

£0.89

53Sleep

No preview avaialable.£0.89

54Dreaming

No preview avaialable.£0.89

55Dreams

£0.89

56Home Movie

£0.89

57Inklings

£0.89

58What to Expect

£0.89

59The Visitation

£0.89

60Anonymous

No preview avaialable.£0.89

61The Living End

£0.89

62Transplant

£0.89

63The Niche

No preview avaialable.£0.89

64Pirate

£0.89

65Voyage

£0.89

66Cargo

£0.89

67Birds

No preview avaialable.£0.89

68Eyes

£0.89

69The Sandpiper

No preview avaialable.£0.89

70On My Birthday

£0.89

71A Bronze Head

£0.89

72Sunset, Central Park

£0.89

73Night Music (Pizzicato)

£0.89

74Family Silver

No preview avaialable.£0.89

75Improvidence

£0.89

76Dominion

£0.89

77Salt and Pepper

£0.89

78Walking Stick

£0.89

79Sparrow

No preview avaialable.£0.89

81Nightwalk

£0.89

80The room of my friend...

No preview avaialable.£0.89

82All my life when I woke up at night...

£0.89

83Someone Walked Over My Grave

£0.89

84Triptych

£0.89

85Le Lac Secret

£0.89

86Survival

£0.89

87Red Glints in Black Hair

£0.89

88Scissors

£0.89

89When

£0.89

Books by Samuel Menashe