and signs so spare
A Hardware Store as Proof of the Existence of God
I praise the brightness of hammers pointing east
like the steel woodpeckers of the future,
and dozens of hinges opening brass wings,
and six new rakes shyly fanning their toes,
and bins of hooks glittering into bees,
and a rack of wrenches like the long bones of horses,
and mailboxes sowing rows of silver chapels,
and a company of plungers waiting for God
to claim their thin legs in their big shoes
and put them on and walk away laughing.
In a world not perfect but not bad either
let there be glue, glaze, gum and grabs,
caulk also, and hooks, shackles, cables, and slips,
and signs so spare a child may read them,
Men, Women, In, Out, No Parking, Beware the Dog.
In the right hands, they can work wonders.
Nancy Willard (1936-2017 *)
from Swimming Lessons : New and Selected Poems (1996)
annotated list of hardware store verse (somewhat neglected)
tags: Nancy Willard; hardware