Brace and Bit

My grandfather’s brace and bit
wasn’t very useful. Leftover

from the days of sail, it was
a country carpenter’s tool.

To countersink a screw
or drill a pilot hole

you had to put your shoulder into it
and often clear the ratchet and the pawl.

But the bits! The bits had heft and soul.
He had a rack of them like rebel soldiers

just back from building pinewood boats
to carry Jackson’s army across the flood.

Long shank and tapered tang
and a ribboned twist for cutting,

they were like the devil’s hoof to sharpen–
and could open a finger lengthwise too.

4 responses to “Brace and Bit

  1. Wow. The heft of this, its images, sounds, and rhythms and those satisfying terms! make it something you can sink your teeth into, as nourishing as food.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I second Lorna. Just beautiful. And a perfect poem for the middle of a long day of work. Thanks for putting your shoulder into these lines. But mind the fingers. You need all ten to get through the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Craig Brandis (aka Burl Whitman)

      Thanks Alan, I’m happy you found a bit of mid-day stillness in this poem! And I’ll mind the fingers…I didn’t realize when I was younger that you pay for those kinds of mistakes decades later(!)

      Like

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