In His Shop

09 Jan

Old cultivator

In His Shop

In his shop Daddy improvised
like a jazz musician.
Virtuoso of rivets, solder, screws, he
repaired hinges with leather,
lengthened a steering shaft
for the tractor-drawn binder,
braced wobbly chairs with welding rods,
reincarnated metal seats
into lawn furniture.

Lightning from his welder
like brain synapses
crackled creations into being.
Pounding hammer,
tapping chisel,
whining file perfected
riffs of leather, metal, wood.

© 2002  V. Nesdoly Published at Utmost Christian Writers Poets Places.  Also published in Calendar, 2004


Next Tuesday, January 14th, is Poetry At Work Day. In honor of that day, the poem I’m re-posting today is about the work my dad did. (I first published it here in 2011).

Want to celebrate Poetry At Work Day?

Check out this Poetry At Work Day Survival Kit

And from that article, 10 Great Poems About Work

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is part of Poetry Friday, hosted today by Donna at Mainely Write.


Posted by on January 9, 2014 in Personal


28 responses to “In His Shop

  1. Ellen Grace Olinger

    June 17, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Hi Violet,

    Wonderful poem. I still miss my dad too; he died in 1983. Blessings…

    Here in Wisconsin, the corn is growing…so beautiful. All the tiny plants in perfect rows. The weather is still cool, and we still have our lilacs.


  2. vnesdoly

    June 17, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Aw, sorry you don’t have your, daddy, Ellen…

    Nice to hear about the progress of spring/summer in Wisconsin. It’s been a drawn-out affair here too. Lots of cool, cloudy weather lately, but the silver lining of those clouds is that the chill sure does keep the starch in the blossoms.


  3. hemp

    June 28, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    I love the physical exercise of it the cyclical nature of it and how an hour spent outside makes the inside-my-head work of writing seem like not such a big deal.. Critiquing has been like a free workshop on what makes some poems powerful and others ineffective.


  4. Robyn Hood Black

    January 9, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Thanks for sharing here, Violet – love the idea of Poetry at Work Day! And I love the line,
    “crackled creations into being” – and, well, all the lines! Happy New Year as you crackle poems into being.


    • Violet Nesdoly

      January 10, 2014 at 8:00 am

      Thank you so much, Robyn! I know many of you, teachers especially, handle poetry at work practically every day, so the 14th is a really a day we tip our hats to you.


  5. Donna Smith

    January 9, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    So many forms and outlets for creativity. This was beautiful. Thanks for sharing it.


    • Violet Nesdoly

      January 10, 2014 at 8:02 am

      Thanks Donna! My dad was creative, in his own way–this way. The wonderful thing is that now my son is starting to explore his own creativity with wood! So the beat goes on.


  6. Linda Baie

    January 9, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Love the nostalgia of your poem, the “virtuoso of rivets” and “riffs of leather, metal, wood”. Thanks Violet!


    • Violet Nesdoly

      January 10, 2014 at 8:03 am

      Thank you, Linda! I really enjoyed writing this poem. My dad died quite a few years ago and for some reason I don’t have many sharp memories of him. So when I’ve been able to do something with the ones I have, I count it a real blessing.


  7. jama

    January 10, 2014 at 6:34 am

    Wonderful, Violet! I love all the great sensory details.


    • Violet Nesdoly

      January 10, 2014 at 8:05 am

      Thanks Jama! Those visual details inspired me… l seeing flashes of light from his shop window when he was welding, and hearing those whining sounds of grinding metal, the clink, clink of his hammer.


  8. Tara Smith

    January 10, 2014 at 8:10 am

    I love the opening of your poem – and the way yuou used the idea of improvisation. Lovely poem to remember a special father, Violet.


    • Violet Nesdoly

      January 10, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      Thanks Tara. I think his generation improvised out of necessity more than to show off creativity. He sure was a special father!


  9. Liz Steinglass

    January 10, 2014 at 9:13 am

    I love all the tangible, physical words–rivets, solder, screws, steering shaft, leather, metal, wood. I feel them in my mouth. What a great way to hold his memory.


    • Violet Nesdoly

      January 10, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      Thank you, Liz! “I feel them in my mouth” – ooh I like that description.


  10. Bridget Magee

    January 10, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Love this poem, Violet. I especially like the lines:
    “Lightning from his welder
    like brain synapses
    crackled creations into being.”
    Shows what a true artist/craftsman your father was. Happy New Year! =)


    • Violet Nesdoly

      January 10, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      Thanks Bridget! Isn’t that what all creativity is… those little lightning connections? Happy New Year to you too 🙂


  11. Buffy Silverman

    January 10, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Great sounds and visuals in this poem. I too love the “Lightning from his welder/like brain synapses…” Wonderful link of creativity to the mind.


    • Violet Nesdoly

      January 10, 2014 at 7:38 pm

      Thanks Buffy! Now to make those lightning connections with words, right?


  12. Mary Lee Hahn

    January 11, 2014 at 6:02 am

    Now that I’ve written a poem that tugs at my MOM memories, you’ve inspired me to write about my dad. I’m off to check your Poetry At Work Day links — thanks!


    • Violet Nesdoly

      January 11, 2014 at 7:49 am

      Wonderful Mary Lee! Some wise poet advice I read recently spoke of how important it is for writers to revisit their roots, as in childhood memories, locations, and people. I find when I do that, it is cathartic, healing and has a wonderful feeling of rightness to it.


  13. dmayr

    January 11, 2014 at 7:37 am

    I can’t add anything more to what has already been said about your very musical poem! Brava! Thanks, too, for the notice of Poetry at Work. I’ll be sure to post a work-related haiku that day.


    • Violet Nesdoly

      January 11, 2014 at 7:56 am

      Thanks Diane. I love those little post-it haiku that you put on your blog!


  14. Myra GB

    January 11, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Perfect picture to match your poetry that is beautifully evocative. Filled with imagery, seems like I can touch it! Great poem, Violet. 🙂 Hope you’re having a fabulous New Year.


  15. ldk

    January 12, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    “Virtuoso of rivets, solder…” just beautiful! I love the music, and the memories in your poem. Great poem!


  16. Violet Nesdoly

    January 12, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Thanks so much, Myra and Linda! Memory poems can be very satisfying to write.


  17. Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

    January 22, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Found this tab open in my laptop and realized I never let you how much I enjoyed this! The comparison of your dad’s metalworking to the work of a jazz musician is fresh and enlightening.



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