Tuesday poem: Graduand, for Tom and Mick Fitzgerald

Constant building makes an architect of the mason — Turkish proverb

From the ground up this house was teaching me.

In the beginning there was a shovel:

a work-dulled hand-me-down missing half its handle,

for banking eight of sand and sixteen gravel

in the back of the mixer. A bag of cement,

jabbed-split, fumbles past the spinning lip last.

And shovelling sand is not the same

as shovelling gravel; the man on gravel

shovels and strains twice as hard. Concrete sloshes

itself into itself, the brimming drum

lists from all this throwing its weight around:

a tilt-turning vat of muck brought up over

our boots from Monday all the way to Saturday

sometimes. But you soon see where you fit in

and put the mess to rights, smack down

and drag along the straightest timber’s edge,

turn a lumpy field into a sheet of glass.

Now, for as long as some mother

and father’s pilgrimage back-and-forth

of the small hours may go on, our floor,

set but four inches-thick, will serve its purpose

between the four great walls of their purchase.

From Accurate Measurements, Doire Press, 2013

Adam White is from Youghal, Co. Cork. After working as a carpenter/joiner in Ireland and in France, he studied English and French at NUI Galway, where he began reading and writing poetry. Accurate Measurements was published by Doire Press in 2013 and shortlisted for a Forward Award.


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