Friday, April 22, 2011

Clemens Starck: Putting in Footings

I can't resist posting another poem by Clemens Starck.  I don't have permission to post it, nor do I know how to obtain it.  If lawyers come after me with six-guns blazing, before I die in a fusillade of subpoenas, just let me say this: I'm only trying to call attention to this great poet.  He slops in mud and at the same time steps back in his mind and considers what it's all about (or not about), how tearing down a house - or building a Safeway - or repairing a car - blends into the great cycle of life. 

People, buy this man's books.  If you find the man in person, kneel at his feet and hear whatever he has to say.

The poem is in
Journeyman's Wages published by Story Line Press, © copyright 1995 and 1997 by Clemens Starck. 

Putting in Footings

Jake is the superintendent on this job,
I draw foreman's wages.
Mack the carpenter, Tom the laborer,
and there are others
wet to the skin
and cold to the bone --
that's Oregon in December.

Be joyful, my spirit.  Be of high purpose.
We are putting in footings --
slogging through mud, kneeling
in it, supplicants pleading for mercy,
brutal, cursing,
drizzle coming down harder.

This is the Project Site.
Tobacco-chewing men in big machines dig holes,
we build the forms.
Ironworkers tie off rebar.
This concrete we pour could outlast
the Pyramids.

        . . .

After the weather
has cleared, and the concrete has cured
and the paychecks are spent --

millennia later,
after the Pyramids
have pulverized and Jake has disappeared
and reappeared many times,
as grouchy as ever,
angels will come to measure our work,
slowly shaking their heads.

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