View Full Version : Poetry for the workshop

03-16-2005, 08:33 AM
I was riding on an airplane yesterday and was so bored that I started to read the on-board magazine. The Canadian Broadcorping Castration, I mean the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation published some winning poetry from the CBC literary awards. Here's the winner:

Grease and Rust.

Every tool is the annointed king of its work;
even as it waits and fades into the general mess,
even if it sinks to the status of a handle
poking from a box behind the curtain

beneath the counter, a wire coiled
round the grip, its head near drowned
in a pool of screws... A coat of oil
repels corruption while the handle waits.

The vise is seasoned black with grease.
Black grease is cleanest in the shop
where rust is the enemy; clean means
strongholds of metal free of rust.

Everything blessed with oil, like the hair
of heroes and saints, prophets and messiahs.
Grease fills the surface-scratch that'll never heal,
settles deep into the score against all agents of rust.

Each tool is patient and confident it is meant
for the job it was designed to do best; it will wait
if it is used for only a moment in a rock's life
or for a thousand years in the tribal life, it will wait.

The workman has observed this waiting,
this slouched hanging from the board,
like the one square hanging in the ready
with a level to get it all straight

the way the other levels laid aside wait
with bubbles of air, like held breaths that can tell
when all is aligned and gravity agrees
that the work is plumb with the heart of the world.

Some say the patience of the workman
is the virtue of his shop, but, truly, the virtue
is motion. Rest is not how things get done.
Rest is how rust creeps into the world.


There are more of these. I'll type some more if anyone is interested. There are ten of them in all, all about the workshop, and all by the same author.

03-16-2005, 02:30 PM
I've never had much appreciation for poems that don't rhyme.
Now take, for instance ...
"There was a young man from Trent,
whose .. (well, never mind)