No easy task this
Cleanup of basement workbench
Full of multifarious clutter,
Dusty mementos of hand-me-downs.
The real chore is in tossing the
Handmade tools my father
Crafted as a machinist under
The final shadows of WW II
And the scraped-up pale-blue tackle box
Full of Lazy Ikes, Bombers, Jitterbugs,
River Runt Spooks, and
A simple matter on the surface
But whatís not seen is
The slippery thought of
Letting go of steel craft and memories,
Lovingly bequeathed as if
They were brothers whose being
Iím now releasing like unwanted
Fish, letting them drop from my hands
To the trash bin below, letting them go
While I suppress a traitorís smile,
Great Judas at the workbench, son
Who is not much more than an ingrate
Who will probably keep only the tackle box
In the end.
This poem first appeared in Fox Cry Review, 2009.
Used wth authorís permission.
Stephen Anderson is a Milwaukee, Wisconsin poet and translator whose award-winning work has appeared in numerous print and online journals and has been featured on the Milwaukee NPR affiliate, WUWM Lake Effect Program. Stephen is the author of three chapbooks and three full length collections, and several of his poems formed the text for a song cycle in The Privileged Secrets of the Arch, a chamber music composition performed by members of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and an opera singer. A fourth poetry collection, On the Third Planet from the Sun: New and Selected Poems, is forthcoming in the summer of 2024 (Kelsay Books). Stephen’s work is being archived in the Stephen Anderson Collection in the Raynor Libraries at Marquette University.
A subject that needs to be written about. Beautifully said.
Posted 06/16/2011 10:04 AM
How this pulls at me as I think of parting with my mother's girlhood play teacups or her watches that no longer work. "Lovingly bequeathed as if they were brothers" Wow!
Posted 06/16/2011 07:29 AM
A poem that shows a wrenching moment, and the guilt of the living.Wonderful imagery.
Posted 06/15/2011 12:47 PM
Very touching! I have been there and the poet has captured the ambivalence of the moment very well.
Posted 06/15/2011 08:21 AM