They’ve got jobs –
we finally see the key workers:

the paper-clad doctors and nurses
saving the sick and the dying (or trying to
on the linen streets of the front lines)

the stackers and cashiers within
the tin-packed walls of the supermarkets
who are saving us from starvation

and the students and unemployed bar staff
stepping up to pick and pack berries and lettuces
packed with vitamins to keep us healthy

whilst the grave diggers and funeral service
pack post-vegetable bodies back into the earth

and the binmen in their bleeping lorry continue
to turn up weekly to remove our waste.

And no, I have never seen a binwoman, but
I was asked if I was one when I was litter picking.
Now even this small job has been taken away

I am flicking through job descriptions application forms
fingers hovering over wonky letters stuck on keys because
the originals were rubbed off over long years of writing
(which has never quite been a ‘proper job’) weighing

the balance between making myself enjobbed useful
and the risk to my seventy-odd year old parents.

All the while the name of a job
that I have never seen advertised online
or even in a fluffy cloud in a Pagan magazine
is pressing its silver lining against the back of my brain:

low risk, innocuous, invisible: ‘MYSTIC.’

“By the Stars of Annwn are you having a laugh?”
I rage at my gods before joining them
laughing loud and hysterically.

8 thoughts on “Jobs

  1. terry138 says:

    Dear Lorna, funnily enough I was thinking about your situation last night. I have been reading about shortages of workers to pick the crops and how it was getting a bit serious for some farms. I was wondering whether you could or would want to do this work. Outdoors and getting paid. You have the skills now that farmers are looking for.

    Best wishes


    Sent from my iPad

    • lornasmithers says:

      Coincidentally I did a recce on my bike today up to Tarleton where some of the farms are. Depending on individual distances it’s looking like 7 – 10 miles and a 45min – 1 hour cycle (Brockholes is 6 miles and around 40 mins). So not too bad and may be doable. Also being outside with social distancing it shouldn’t be as high risk as the other jobs I mention. So have tried applying…

  2. Greg Hill says:

    There are jobs, and there are vocations. Sometimes they can be the same. More often not.

    Each of us has a choice to do what we are called to do, as we are able, in difficult times. This may mean choosing between different calls. The choice, once made, should not be regretted or lead to feelings of guilt.

    (By the way, we do have a female bin lorry worker – one of many under-valued contributors to our well-being – though valued by us along with those other key workers you mention.)

    • lornasmithers says:

      Getting the balance between a money job and my vocation has always been a challenge. Ideally they’d be the same but that is so very very rare. I know a small handful of individuals who could make that claim.

      Cool. Good for your female bin lorry driver 🙂 That’s actually a job I haven’t looked into much but wouldn’t mind. If I was one of the foot workers I wouldn’t need to go running after chasing the lorry all day!

  3. Thornsilver says:

    I’ve been struggling with some of the same questions–it might be easy to get a temporary job in retail right now, but I keep coming to the answer to that to keep my pack (my household) safe, I need to stay in, since I have the option. (And Gwyn has been very firm that I’m not to go back to retail, even though I chew on the idea every so often.)

    I definitely wish that one could make a living as a mystic or inspired one or awenydd or witch. Or even a “pagan musician!” (So, bard?)

  4. Nimue Brown says:

    It seems like a time to do outrageous things, not mundane ones, I think. Nothing is sensible anymore, nothing is predictable, and therefore no one choice is necessarily any more preposterous than any other…

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