Putting on the Grey Suit 

for Dennis O’Driscoll

George Herbert wrote
of the folly of distracted men.
But often we forget
we will not pass this way again.

Putting on the grey suite
we are set in motion, en route
like the morning memo.

The keyboard is the juju
that we touch, the answer machine
a sentinel to watch over us.

Like clockwork we finish
and commence the days we circle
or mark with an X.

We write reports and pass away a life
as foot-soldiers making footnotes,
field-workers among the sheaves

counting down the office hours,
the middle years
until they reach the last hour

of exhaustion when 
we close the ledger, put down the pen
and gather what we came to earn. 

From Daytime Sleeper, Dedalus, 2002

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