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Saturday 12 January 2013

The Mason

The mason's hammer scribes a perfect arc,
the pin rings out a perfect note
an octave down from middle C.
Much lower than the rest.

Twelve pins there are in twelve drilled holes,
even-spaced in a straight line.
In turn the mason plays them all,
but hits the high notes first.

And so the hammer rises, falls...
the stranger hears a tune.
The mason, though, brings all twelve pins
to ring out clear with one sound note.

Soon, as he taps them evenly, 
together down the scale, a crack appears --
thin, wiry thing, like a shy mouse 
that scampers pin to pin.

Yet still the mason taps: the crack runs down
the marble block at either end.
Still must the mason listen to the pins
until the block comes clean away.

Severed from its mountain home,
it groans down to the ground
and rolls before the mason's feet
and those of him who first selected it.

The master carver sees within
the shapes that wait for their new day.
But for the mason every day is as this one,
and every night he dreams his one sad dream.

The pins are choristers whom he conducts;
they sing the same cantata time and time
again, until the point at which the notes
become the only note in town.

It is a sort of death. A crack runs through
the ground. It opens, swallowing the pins.
He knows for sure, the day will come
when it will swallow him.


Tabor said...

Somehow had the ping of endless boredom. I felt sorry for him and all of those who worked so hard before us.

Janine Bollée said...

Don't know whether to laugh or cry. I suppose overall it is sad.Being partial to quarries all sorts, I don't feel sad about the cleavage [so to speak] but the fact that he has nightmares about it, whoever he may be, in reality or not.Love the cowering tim'rous wee beastie-like crack scampering from pin to pin.

BTW, it looks like your nature page comments have been vigorously scammed.

Brian Miller said...

nice....there are several things in this dave...love the music...the ringing out as he cuts away....the seeing of what was in there....the best for me though is the realization that the artist day will come as well to be take by the same...

Mary said...

I think someone has to be a special kind of person to be a mason....it seems quite a monotonous life. Perhaps the dream is one of the few things that breaks this monotony?

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

A powerful metaphor the swallowing of the pins and the crack opening.
It's for us all. Ineluctable.

Maude Lynn said...


Elephant's Child said...

Such a sad piece. Although the mason breaks free the first piece that is his only contribution towards releasing a myriad of things from the marble. No wonder it is death rather than life he sees.

Dave King said...

Much thanks to all for an interesting set of replies, a few points from which, I must admit, were unexpected, but greatly appreciated. The "mason's" method of removing a block is both something I have seen and was recently reminded of in a documentary. It was the possibility of a musical fantasy that first interested me, though in the event I did not persue that possibility.

Carl said...

Works for both the operative and speculative Mason. Job well done sir.