For the love of basket-making, or Just One More
He sat, his back against the wall, his legs stretched out before;
half-finished basket on his lap.
He peered out through the door
from gloom within to glare without,
and with neither smile nor sigh,
snatched photographic glimpses
of the people passing by.
Upsett – slew – border – brew;
the pattern of his day
unbroken as for centuries;
there is no other way
to make a basket. Engineers
might work with all their skill
to make machines to do the job
but he knows they never will.
Pulling out another rod
from his pile of mellowed stuff
he weaves it in, and then two more
then measures – that’s enough.
A three rod wale, and beat it down,
his iron polished bright
by his palm, and palms before his own;
he beats it level – tight.
A common five-rod border now
laid more by touch than sight;
checking, smiling, trimming up,
Yes, that one looks just right.
Plain roped handle – not long now
(the kettle quietly steaming)
his thoughts turn inwards, glazed his eyes,
he settles into dreaming
for a minute, ‘til the kettle boils
and brings him back once more,
and he rises, creaking,
from his polished plank upon the floor.
With mug in hand he idly stands
in sunlight in the doorway,
soaking up enough supplies
to see him through one more day
Sorting out tomorrow’s work
he puts stuff in the tank
to soak, then turning back inside,
he settles on his plank;
picks up his knife and rods, he slypes
sending chips across the floor
and smiling, says “I think there’s time,
yeah - time for just one more:
© Rob king 1990