Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 4. IN THE STONE-FLOORED WORKSHOP, by EDWARD CARPENTER



Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

Rhyming Dictionary Search
TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 4. IN THE STONE-FLOORED WORKSHOP, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: There in the stone-floored workshop in the middle of a great dirty city
Last Line: And my dear comrade.
Subject(s): Labor & Laborers; Stone-cutting; Work; Workers


THERE in the stone-floored workshop in the middle of a great dirty
city—the windows half made up with dust—
Three men, astraddle on their horsings, and over their grinding wheels
bending.

The drum that brings the power from the engine-room pounds and thumps, the
belting slaps and crackles, whizz go the wheels so steady in their sockets, and
the streams of sparks fly rustling.
All is so old-fashioned, perhaps much as it was four or five centuries ago;

The old stone trows, half full of water, in which the wheels run; the
puddles, the mud, the wheelswarf spattered and crusting the walls and even the
clothes of the grinders with yellow dirt;
The rude wooden bearings for the axles, soused with water when they get too
hot; the drawing-up stones, emery wheels, polishers, glazers;
The little wheels, made out of fragments of larger ones, for hollow
grinding, and (more modern) the fan for drawing and expelling the dust.

There astraddle, in their rough clothes, with clogs on their feet, and
faces yellow-splashed, hour by hour bending over, the men sit—
With careful grasp of one hand and pressure of the other, holding the
blades to the stone—the pads of their finger-tips worn through to the very
quick where they now and then and unavoidably touch it in its swift career.

Very careful and responsible is the work—the least slip may cause an
accident.
A man comes in from the hardening shop, puts down a bundle of rough-shaped
blades, and goes out again.
And still the heads sway rhythmically from side to side as eye and hand
follow their work across the wheel.
Very careful is the testing and examining of a new stone and the fitting it
on its axle: a single flaw and in the great speed it will fly, bringing danger
to all around it.
Now and then one pauses and takes a swipe out of a can; or throws his band
off, to change his wheel for another; or goes to the fire to examine some blades
which are heating in a tray over it.
Curt is the talk (of fancy-backs, rattlers, sours and wasters, tangs and
heels and shoulders), for the noise is too great, and the strain, for much
beyond monosyllables.
Dingy the den and dense the grit that settles thick upon everything.

Yet at last out of it all, out of this primitive scene, emerges something
so finished, so subtly perfect—
A razor, keen and brilliant, a very focus of light in the whole shop, with
swift invisible edge running true from heel to point, and ringing so clear to
the twang of the thumb-nail on it—
Emerges (his work done) a figure with dusty cap and light curls escaping
from under it, large dove-grey eyes and Dutch-featured face of tears and
laughter,
(So subtle, so rare, so finished a product,)
A man who understands and accepts all human life and character,
Keen and swift of brain, heart tender and true, and low voice ringing so
clear,
And my dear comrade.





Other Poems of Interest...



Home: PoetryExplorer.net