A Poem for Pain

The Infernal Machine

We walk across the paving stones thinking they mark the pace of progress
But really what they show is how alike we’ve all become
Repeated machinations, punching clocks, inching forward
Yesterday, tomorrow’s today; each one doomed to be redone

This does not have to be the way we treat what we’ve been gifted
Drifting along the path we’re on, twisting into a mess
Instant response the thing we want, good-bad we thrive on attention
Held hostage to the way of the world; are we under duress?

The wheels keep spinning no matter whether we stay off or get on
I humbly submit we need not remain within its grip
Grasping to find the ways to learn how others climb the ladder
Higher we go, looking down on it all; but what if we slip?

Our differences hold the key to living together while we’re apart
Embrace these pieces that when joined make us beautifully unique
Even as turbulent oceans rise, stem the selfish tide we must
Break the cycle, choosing kindness; we’ll stop the Infernal Machine

– Hamish Thornton, 11 August 2020

This poem has been growing within my heart and soul for over a year. Seeing all the people walking through town to and from work, with expressions of tiredness and pain, causes an ache deep within me. Many corporate and sales positions have a requirement to be at work between certain hours and get a certain amount of work done. At times more work than is feasibly possible.

I am most definitely one of these people at the moment. Each morning I walk to work at the same time, often seeing the same people in the same places on this walk, and feel the same weight of expectation. Don’t get me wrong, I feel blessed to have a job at this time, and I am thankful  I am in an organisation providing help to those who need it. The people I work with are courteous to work with and always roll up their own sleeves if anyone needs help. This gives me encouragement to do the same. But, being expected at work at a certain time, being expected to work the same hours every day, and having the nagging feeling I should only be looking forward to the weekend, is not how I want to spend the majority of my time for my “working” life.

I value hard work. I put in the hours at my job because I have been blessed with a job during these uncertain times. When away from work, even on my breaks, I put in the hours writing books and stories, practicing guitar and writing music, and building connections on this wonderful platform. But, there are more ways to earn a living than working for someone else. There are already plenty of people doing it and doing it very well. Working for ourselves, being in charge of producing work and processing the income, requires just as much hard work as any Monday to Friday job. I know I can’t just pull myself out of this continuously moving machine without already having infrastructure in place to earn money from writing and music. I may never be able to earn fully earn a living from these things, but I take steps towards it every day.

Do you have a desire to escape The Infernal Machine? What would you see yourself doing to earn a living? How can you put a plan in place to make this happen?

Thank you all for reading, for engaging, and for sharing your own experiences. This community is full of intelligent, thoughtful people, who make living through this strange year that is 2020 seem an achievable prospect.

Peace to you all, my friends.

Photo by NEOSiAM 2020 from Pexels


15 thoughts on “A Poem for Pain

  1. AP2 says:

    That’s a beautiful poem! Thanks for sharing it Hamish. It certainly resonates. It’s a tough thing to make happen – to gain financial independence from doing only what you want. I like my job but like you I don’t want to torture my body flying through the night for another 30 years. The problem is finding that income from other sources.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Hamish says:

    Thank you for your kind words. It is about finding balance (which I’ve been learning more about as it is a key theme in the novel in writing!) If can leave work at work and still have the energy to engage our creativity when we are away from it, this is a fine way to live too. I’m just finding more and more a yearning in my soul, a pull to spend more time writing making music, and then share these creations with the world. Where there’s a will there’s a way, and talking with people who know more about being self-employed will help me continue to work towards it.

    I pray you will get what you need from whatever work you dive into. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. gulfcoastpoet@gmail.com says:

    Hamish, I worked at many jobs before becoming a teacher at age 40. All those jobs, to differing degrees, were part of the “infernal machine.” The ones I hated the least were ones where my thoughts were my own. Jobs where I had to think about something I didn’t find interesting, I liked least. Teaching was no panacea. Some teaching jobs I liked a lot more than others. Those jobs in which I had the most autonomy were the ones I liked the most. I hope you can figure out what you want and go for it! Music teacher? All the best! Cheryl

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hamish says:

      Life is definitely an ever-changing adventure. I’ve always been drawn to making music and writing, it just wasn’t something I was actively encouraged towards as a way to earn a living. The world we live in for the most part requires transactional commerce and we must find a way to live within that, or a way to be self-sustaining. I love my family and had really caring teachers but it always seemed like subconscious pressure pushed me was towards higher education and a job as a way to pay the bills. Jobs which one wasn’t really supposed to ‘enjoy’ as such. Nothing wrong with that avenue but it had always felt like pushing against the way of living I felt inspired and drawn to.

      Thank you for your kindness and encouragement as I forge this path through life, finding direction to create things which can help others. This is the other thing I feel God is leading me to do, to help others any way I can, especially with anything I create (mostly writing and music).

      Peace to you and your endeavours. ♥

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Godfrey says:

    Thank you for sharing, your poem is so powerful and I can relate to it. It is sometimes difficult to find a balance between your creativity and a job you depends on for income. It always feels like one is not in alignment with his/her dreams, though, what i have learnt from this journey, and inspiration I gets from all your posts, is to find a way to reserve time when i have no work to do and do the damage and connect with my creative sources, whether it’s late night or whatever time i find myself not doing nothing, i work on my creativity.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hamish says:

      Thank you so much for your kindness. When we have energy it is then we can engage that creativity. We have more energy when we sleep well, eat well, and have healthy relationships with our friends and family. I pray you will continue to chip away at your projects and keep finding new ways to create wonder in your world. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sundaram Chauhan says:

    Brings back my own memories from the rut of 4 hrs commute to and fro everyday at work. I can relate to the gloomy feelings it evokes within us. But you’re on the right path. I’m happy to see you working so hard, along with work, on your passions. That’s the way, I believe, and you’ll receive the next directions yourself when you’re ready. 🤘🤘

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hamish says:

    That is one heck of a commute. Kudos to you for managing that and doing all the other things to maintain as much of a life balance as you could! The light is there in our lives, it’s just hard to find sometimes.

    Thank you for the encouragement, I’m trying the best I can. 🤘


  7. PoojaG says:

    Really enjoyed this poem! The reason I created my blog was because I loved writing and I wanted to make it my full time job. I haven’t reached my goal yet but I am pretty close and I hope at some point in the future I can do what I love as my full time job.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hamish says:

      Thank you! 😊

      Following your journey is a consistent reminder to keep putting in hard work, and to radiate kindness and encouragement to others.

      Well done to you! I hope you continue to make that progress and keep enjoying what you’re doing. It really shows in your writing.

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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