Saturday, March 6, 2010


I've finished, just right now, a book on work,
But more than that, in every respect.
It's Matthew Crawford's Shop Class as Soul Craft,
One that has made me ponder how a trade
Can really differ from a job. I care
To make clear this distinction. What result

Will come of this? I hope it will result
In helping you, my readers, think of work
In new ways, and to contemplate the care
It takes to fix and build things, and respect
The shrewd and thoughtful men who chose a trade
Like fixing motors and make it a craft.

What really, though, makes of a job a craft?
The way it does engage one? The result
That something functions well? Who'd trade
That proof of effort for just busy work
And social nebulosity? Respect
Is given wrongly to those who don't care.

What's college for, if not to learn to care
About things quite beyond oneself? The craft
Of learning, though, is lost in this respect:
Mere training for a cubicle results
When students go to school, an eye on work
That better pays than mere ungenteel trade.

But find a man who truly knows his trade,
His engines and his wires and parts, whose care
Is given to what truly makes things work,
And you might find more wisdom in that craft
Than shown by office stooges, real result
Subsumed in process and unreal respect.

Divided souls who work but don't respect
Or realize real things would often trade
For jobs that have some tangible result,
Says Crawford; might again begin to care
About just why they're here, and thus to craft
Anew their souls while eyes and hands do work.

But it's not just about work and respect:
While craftsmanship in trade is fine itself,
One taught to care is his own good result.

1 comment:

  1. I admire your ambitious writing project. Too cool!

    How about a Suppertime Sonnet about a woman who "truly knows her trade,
    Her engines and her wires and parts, whose care
    Is given to what truly makes things work"?

    For inspiration, check out Sarah Lyon's Female Mechanics Calendars:

    Thanks for your poetry!


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