Tools of the trade
are varied and many
Sculpted by hands
shiny from use

Favorite tools
have a special place
for those who use them often
Some are passed down
through generations
gaining in honor steadily

Oh, the memories
that go along with them!
Priceless, the tools become
as they wear
the marks of thousands of usings

A two pound hammer
a little sledge
is one I often use
Grandpa Clementz used it
to budge some stubborn bolts
My step dad used it too
I got it without a handle
and promptly added that
then used it heavily one summer
in tearing down old buildings
Sunup found me pounding, prying
knocking down
the hired man’s house and barn
No longer used, the buildings stood
so the lumber was recycled
The hammer is a favorite
so handy as it always was
pounding stubborn things
to fix the old or make the new

A special shovel’s ready
to scoop the grain we grow
A shiny handle with the marks:
“A W” distinguish it from others
My grandpa spent his lifetime
scooping grain, feeding cattle
Oats and wheat, corn and soybeans
were moved from trucks to bins
scooped out again and into feed
for hungry critters growing

This scoop was special
new tools were very rare
but this one was aluminum
thus lighter weight by half
than steel shovels, the standard fare
My mind’s eye still sees him scooping
a steady rhythm going
I’d join him with my kid’s size shovel,
admiring that polished silver

A half century passing
grandpa’s shovel is ready
to move a pile of grain again
Now it’s my rhythm swinging
the sound’s the same
as the shovel digs in
then grain slides off ker chink
Hours pass, and chore is done
one more time
an empty bin is waiting

I’ll not take the shovel with me
to comfort me in a casket
it will need another’s hands
to keep it shiny, used for work
whether grain or snow
it will only be ‘just right’
when it will be swinging
doing what it’s intended to do
it’s shovel ready!

Lin, 8/2011