Brickwork

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Brickwork
by Sanford Shugart

It wasn’t a work I had chosen, but
I was young and the job came to hand
like each new, rasp-edged brick
and I was taken with the
challenge of the craft.
Head-down to lay to a line
straight and square, feeling the
grain of baked earth and
handling the sanded mud with
quick, smart flicks and jabs,
a precision boxer working a square ring,
mastering tools and letting them
master me: hammer, level and trowel.
Focusing, focusing until every
cell is in the rhythm, speed,
economy of motion, each brick
leading to the next, no hesitation,
no space between the notes and
all notes the same,
brick to brick, course on course,
year stacked on
year until I take on the very
texture of brick, the grit of mortar
rigid joints and flat face of the wall
no view but the brick,
no plan but the brick,
no dream but the brick

and then

the walls, at last,
connect and there is
nothing to do but to set the
iron bars in the
tiny, high window
and wait for
the end.

© February 2003, Sanford C. Shugart

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