Across the avenue from where I sit
In my air-conditioned office gazing out,
I watch hard-handed fellows as they hit
Stakes in the ground or slather bricks with grout
Or pound the dirt before new concrete’s poured
Or back a tractor up with its full load,
The soundscape filled with industrious discord—
Another world from mine, over the road.
Instead, when I’m not looking out on them,
I’m checking email or grading students’ themes,
Not labor one is likely to condemn,
The kind the academic world esteems,
And yet I honor and admire their deeds
That serve concretely elemental needs.