Saturday, September 11, 2010

Trades

Trades

I want to be a carpenter,
To work all day long in clean wood,
Shaving it into little this slivers
Which screw up into curls behind my plane;
Pounding square, black nails into white boards,
With the claws of my hammer glistening
Like the tongue of a snake.
I want to shingle a house,
Sitting on a ridgepole, in a bright breeze.
I want to put the shingles on neatly,
Taking great care that each is directly between two others.

I want my hands to have the tang of wood;
Spruce, cedar, cypress.
I want to draw a line on a board with a flat pencil,
And then saw along that line,
With the sweet-smelling sawdust piling up in a yellow heap at my feet.
That is the life I want to be! Heigh-ho!
Sleet and shift for the slippery climb,
How they stop a fire, or tinker a tire – and pull into town on time.

The city takes, and it goes its way, and the great dark hulks reload,
While mechanics grease; and test, and check, to make them safe for the road;
Then the crates are stacked and the boxes packed and the padding placed – and then
The tailboards slam, and the trailers ram, and the great trucks roll again!

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