The Mechanistic Ballade

On my workbench the drill lies like a bum,

Screwdrivers hang like prisoners on the rack,

The pliers' jaws hang open, amazed and dumb,

And all the hammers yearn to pound and whack.

My screws are scattered like used flak

Left from a war or two. The sawdust has grown

So thick, it mounds above my vise, drains down the crack

In my bench, and piles up like molten stone.

The pipe machine sings a haunting hum,

And stirs me from my languid state.

It calls me and it draws me: "Please do come

And clean my grimy oil-filter grate."

The service chart chides: "Again you're late,

Three weeks ago I started to moan,

Just look at my manifold, rings, and plate!"

Was it better when tools were simply stone?

I scratched my head: "Where is this bolt from?

I read the sheet and put all of them back in;

Car stereos are the worst; the yellow, plum,

And snake-green wires writhe with the chill grin

Of the heater. No standards, its a sin!"

But in my car, soft flutes sing and the phone

Transmits my wife's love. With her voice we win

The Race that started with a sharpened stone.

I love and hate machines with equal zeal,

When steam moves gears it whistles and it groans.

So rust and shine adorn all sheets of steel,

And gold, like blood, runs through the hardest stones.


© 1991 - Scott Lawrence Lawson