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  • What is the alphabet of work? Tell the message of the poem in your own words.


“You have to work” –  an enormous voice is calling out –
But not with the sweat of thy hand or thy back
(As the beginning of work, undeniably, is not here):
“You have to work by the sweat of your HEAD” […]

A voice is thundering in thy breast: “I’ve lost Eden”
A voice is thundering over you: “work by the sweat of your head”.

Gather all the economists and suddenly
Ask them, what is the work alphabet?

What should I begin with? When I was shipwrecked
Or the wind betrayed me, having first ripped off the sails.
What shall I start from? By the sweat of the hand?
By the sweat of the shoulders?… when no tools are there!…
And the abyss is all around, and you – on the edge….

Start…. So as no dizziness comes to your head
And the enormous voice, as at the beginning, is calling:
“You have to work by the sweat of your HEAD!” […]

The most ordinary carpenter who works with his axe
No matter how hard he works, […]

He has to master first the steadiness of his mind,
No strength comes without it – no profit! […]

[C. Norwid, Vade-mecum]