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Poem: "Lending a Hand" - The Wordsmith's Forge — LiveJournal
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Lending a Hand"

This poem came out of the March 6, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from wyld_dandelyon and sponsored by Anthony and Shirley Barrette.  You can read more about the Monster House series on the Serial Poetry page.


Lending a Hand


The man who came to mend the roof
was gentle with the house.
My daughter and I stood the yard that afternoon,
listening to the steady beat of the hammer.
I kept a sharp eye on the house
but it never stirred, leaving him to his work.

He was nearly done when my daughter remarked,
"The temperature is dropping."
"Yes, the sun is going down," I said.
Then I realized the potential problem
of having a handyman on the roof after sunset.

"You can call it a day now,"
I hollered up to him.
"I'm almost done," he yelled back.
"No sense charging you for another trip tomorrow."

Just then the gargoyles awoke,
flapping and hissing to find a stranger so close.
One of the hatchlings flopped itself out of the nest
and began to plummet.

Without hesitating the roofer lunged to catch it,
scooping the chick out of the air with one huge hand,
the other scrabbling at the roof.
I ran to move the ladder underneath him,
then steadied it while he recovered his position.
He put the hatchling back into its nest.
Then he put the last few shingles in place
and climbed down.

"Must be nice having your own nest of raptors,"
the handyman said.
"They keep the pigeons down," I agreed.
Then he collected his check, and drove away.

"Does he have a destiny as a hero, or what?"
I asked my daughter as I
struggled to slow my galloping heart.
"No," she said quietly,
"he just does that on his own."

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Current Mood: busy busy

26 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
ideealisme From: ideealisme Date: March 10th, 2012 01:04 am (UTC) (Link)
I like that one, particularly the ending.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 10th, 2012 01:59 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm happy to hear that.
catsittingstill From: catsittingstill Date: March 10th, 2012 01:09 am (UTC) (Link)
"he just does that on his own."

Wonderful!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 10th, 2012 01:54 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

Not all people who do heroic things have a Destiny. Some are just quietly decent people.
catsittingstill From: catsittingstill Date: March 10th, 2012 02:09 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

The roofer sets his hammer down
And does his level best
To catch the falling gargoyle chick
And tuck it in its nest.

The weaver hears a tiny cry
And lays aside her comb
To help the stranded kitten down
Or lead the puppy home.

They do their deeds and go their way,
Not knowing what they've sown;
They do not have a Destiny;
They do it on their own.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 10th, 2012 07:33 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

That is beautiful! Thank you so much. I'll link to it from the series entry.
catsittingstill From: catsittingstill Date: March 10th, 2012 01:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

Thank you. I'm very glad you like it.
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: March 10th, 2012 02:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

Oh, this is wonderful.

By the way, you've just shown up twice in as many days on my friends' posts with nifty stuff. May I add you to my reading list?
catsittingstill From: catsittingstill Date: March 10th, 2012 04:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

I'm glad you like it, and sure, you can add me. Thanks!
wyld_dandelyon From: wyld_dandelyon Date: March 11th, 2012 03:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

Is there a tune for this?
catsittingstill From: catsittingstill Date: March 11th, 2012 05:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

There can be one, if you would like
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 11th, 2012 06:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

I would love to have a tune for this song. A title would also be helpful for linking to it. Maybe something like "On Their Own" ...?
catsittingstill From: catsittingstill Date: March 11th, 2012 11:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

I will see what I can do :-)

I was thinking about possibly treating what I wrote there as verses, adding a chorus, perhaps something like

He's (She's / They're) just the decent people that
We all can hope to be.
He does (She does / They do) the good that comes his (her /their) way;
If he (she, they) can, why not me?

And "On Their Own" would probably work as a title.
catsittingstill From: catsittingstill Date: March 13th, 2012 10:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

Tune is here in my lj
wyld_dandelyon From: wyld_dandelyon Date: March 11th, 2012 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

Well, it's a given that _I_ would like it to become a song.
catsittingstill From: catsittingstill Date: March 11th, 2012 11:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

I will see what I can come up with for a tune, and see above for some ideas about a possible chorus.
catsittingstill From: catsittingstill Date: March 13th, 2012 10:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

Tune is here in my lj
fayanora From: fayanora Date: March 10th, 2012 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Cute. I like it. :-D

Now, is he pretending to not notice what they really are, or is he just that mundane? :-)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 10th, 2012 03:33 am (UTC) (Link)

Hmm...

As best I can tell, he's a roofer, not a birdwatcher. He saw something big with wings and a nest, and the only entry in his mental database for that was "raptor" -- which he probably just got from a nature program about eagles or peregrines. I don't think he realizes they are actually gargoyles.

Most people see what they expect to see, and if they see something different, are more inclined to believe themselves mistaken than accept that reality just did something bizarre.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: March 10th, 2012 03:34 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

True. :-)
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: March 10th, 2012 02:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, oh, awesome. I like this guy. Also, I like the daughter's insight.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 10th, 2012 07:25 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>>Oh, oh, awesome. I like this guy.<<

I'm happy to hear that.

>> Also, I like the daughter's insight.<<

The Eye of Fate allows her to see things in proportion to their consequence in matters of fate. She can't see everything. People tend to show up just because they influence things around them, but it varies. Someone who makes a big impact would be vivid. This guy is probably barely discernible. Thus he isn't doing it because he's fated to be a hero, just because he's a decent guy who makes spontaneous decisions ending in similar results. Though there seems to be some two-way action; someone who made a habit of saving people could build up a 'charge' just by the amount of change it would have on the world.
eseme From: eseme Date: March 14th, 2012 02:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that is awesome! I hope they refer the guy to their friends (does Grandma need her roof fixed too?). Guys like that are worth their weight in gold.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 14th, 2012 06:07 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I suspect they'll keep in touch in case they, or someone else in the know, happens to need a roofer. I certainly would.
aubergine_pilot From: aubergine_pilot Date: September 21st, 2012 07:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's been too easy, reading through these, to forget just how heavy having the Eye of Fate could be for a kid. "Quietly" has so many potential meanings, after all. That you keep track of everything like that...

I keep trying to continue this comment but my inner monologue dissolves into squeeing illustrated with big pink hearts at that point.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 22nd, 2012 01:10 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>> It's been too easy, reading through these, to forget just how heavy having the Eye of Fate could be for a kid. "Quietly" has so many potential meanings, after all. That you keep track of everything like that... <<

Sooth. You see truly. That's a very powerful little artifact, not just a prosthetic eyeball. It doesn't see the world exactly the same way that ordinary human vision does. It sees things based on their significance. For ordinary people, that's similar to the usual. But some things don't appear, while others are super conspicuous. There are also things that are impossible to overlook, that most people would never know about.

That's a significant part of why she keeps coming back to her world, even after visiting the center of the timespace continuum. It is possible to see too much.

>>I keep trying to continue this comment but my inner monologue dissolves into squeeing illustrated with big pink hearts at that point.<<

*happydance*
26 comments or Leave a comment