Monday Poem

by Jim Culleny

I’ve done a number of things to make a living over the years, but my most protracted make-a-living venture has been as a carpenter. But I’ve not done that alone: without the right tools a carpenter’s as helpless as a musician without an axe. Tools are body’s extension, and mind’s.  Which brings me to my other, coincidental building project, assembling songs and poems. Some time ago, bringing the two together, I began a series of short poems built upon my relationship with tools. The first four are here:

MY TOOLS

1. Adze

I’ve never been a mathematician
physicist or statistician
but, as a carpenter who aspires
to be a word magician,
I can fill you in on certain facz
such as the paradoxical condition
in which, at least from Mesolithic times,
the framer’s friend, the adze, subtracz

2. Hammer

A hammer’s not a thing of glamor
until you feel its weight,
but when you grip an Estwing’s shank
and swing it up to bring it down
to drive a nail into a plank
you recognize its simple grace:
its elegant utility as whammer
and if your nail’s a driven flaw
you always have its graceful claw’s
corrective adjunct to your
curse and stammer

3. Spirit Level

A spirit level’s used to set things straight
with the plane of the horizon as in a beam
or plumb as with a stud to make sure
structure’s right by spirit

you breathe deep and easy and hold the level
so the spirit bubble floats in the small arc of a glass flask
dead center which if placed upon a joist would say,
this floor is level
…………………..
being on the level
good way to be

4. Square

Beloved of a stairway crafter
or sawyer of a stud or joist
or cutter of a common rafter
that he will later lug and hoist
under sun or in a freeze —no matter

the square’s essential charge in being
is to prove all NINE-O  degreeing
so that structure’s straight and true,
with Pythagoras agreeing

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email