Poetry blogging

Song by B.H. Fairchild

Gesang ist Dasein.

A small thing done well
, the steel bit paring
the cut end of the collar, lifting delicate
blue spirals of iron slowly out of lamplight

into darkness until they broke and fell
into a pool of oil and water below.
A small thing done well, my father said

so often that I tired of hearing it and lost
myself in the shop's north end, an underworld
of welders who wore black masks and stared

through smoked glass where all was midnight
except the purest spark, the blue-white arc
of the clamp and rod. Hammers made dull tunes

hacking slag, and acetylene flames cast shadows
of men against the tin roof like great birds
trapped in diminishing circles of light.

Each day was like another. I stood beside him
and watched the lathe spin on, coils of iron
climbing into dusk, the file's drone, the rasp,

and finally the honing cloth with its small song
of things done well that I would carry into sleep
and dreams of men with wings of fire and steel.

Bert Fairchild, 1906-1990


At 5/20/2006 9:49 PM, Blogger Priya said...

Isn't he a muppet?

At 5/20/2006 11:08 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

What? No, he's a poet.

It reminds me of my dad, since he's always (well, as long as I can remember) worked in machine shops. It feels like going to visit him at work, or watching him in the garage when I was six or seven.

We used to listen for the torch to stop ffting before going out in the yard, because my mom claimed that we'd go blind if we looked at the sparks. In retrospect, she probably just didn't want us getting holes burned in our clothes.

Or metal splinters in our feet--my brother and I fought over the really long shavings. I have no idea why. It was a big deal at the time.

Should have saved it for Father's Day, but I thought it appropriate given this week's DW episode.

At 5/21/2006 1:03 AM, Blogger Priya said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 5/21/2006 1:06 AM, Blogger Priya said...

Oops. Made a rather rude comment which would have probably gone down better in theory/talk than in writing so swiftly removed it.

I still think it was funny but since the tone of the post/comments is more serious (or so it seems), it had to go.

And, I'd rather fight about another thing than about dads and Bert the muppet. I like both dads (well, mine. I don't know yours :-)
and Bert.

At 5/23/2006 12:00 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Hm. I make no claims about whether you'd like my dad. Let's just say that when PK is a good thing, it says a bit about your home life.


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