Friday, May 8, 2009

Poetry Friday: Naming the Tools

Tricia at THE MISS RUMPHIUS EFFECT offered up a Poetry Stretch this week that made me think of my two grandfathers - both were accomplished carpenters, and both took great care with the tools in their tools boxes. My mom's dad had an old sandstone grinder - a wheel - that he let me turn the handle on when he wanted to put a sharp edge on one of his tools. The wheel was almost as big as I was.

The Stretch challenge was to come up with a poem about work or about a profession. So here's mine:


Claw hammer, screw driver
tape measure, locking pliers

monkey wrench, cat’s paw
framing square, tenon saw

chisel and pencil
hand drill, spirit level

draw knife, spokeshave
wood rasp, hand plane

miter box, chalk line
sharp and fine, all mine

The Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted this week over at Anastasia Suen's wonderful Picture Book of the Day.


  1. Even though I don't know what half of these tools are, the specific names are somehow very satisfying. Why is that?

    My great grandfather was a furniture-maker. He died before I was born, but his tools and creations do carry such a strong sense of who he was.

  2. My dad is a retired carpenter, and he was very meticulous with his tools. I love the naming of all the tools; as Janet says, it's very satisfying, and for me, reassuring.

  3. There are picture books so useful to authors because they detail the NAMES of all of the bits and pieces of things. I love stuff like that, and I love the "naming of the parts."

  4. The names of these tools are so delightful to read outloud. They feel like worn wood handles and dull-to-shiny metal in my mouth. Thanks for posting this!

  5. I love the poem, Julie. Your catalog of tools highlights the beautiful word sounds. Just read a Ted Kooser poem about a peg-board for tools. I'll have to look up the title for you.

  6. My paternal grandfather was apparently a man who had great instincts about mechanical things. Sadly, none of that has passed on to me. I love the pictures, especially the one in the middle: such intricacies!

    And throwing in the colorful tool set at the end: made me smile.

  7. My mother-in-law's father was a carpenter, and we are lucky to have the dollhouse he built for her. But now I wonder what happened to his tools...

    For me, your poem evokes the order and the beauty of those tools, arranged and waiting to make new things.

  8. What a rich poem! wonderful choice! It is fun to know all those words, and read them aloud over and over!

  9. Your poem has a rhythm like sawing or hammering...the rhythm of the work the tools themselves do. A great tribute to the tools and the users of the tools.

  10. One of my grandfathers built furniture in his spare time. Clunky furniture made of pine, but still, he enjoyed his time in his shop.

    Thanks for this.