Monday Poem

Tool Series

—Constructive poems for carpenters and other builders

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 irrational condition
in which, at least from Mesolithic times,
the framer’s friend, the adze, subtracz



A hammer’s not a thing of glamor
until you feel its heft

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
to slip around its head and yank
—a perfect brutal adjunct
to your curse and stammer


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

Jim Culleny