Nancy Willard

During April, which is Poetry Month, Knopf Poetry sends out a poem by email every day, from the authors whom they publish. If you’d like to subscribe, send a blank email to The month is half over, but they’ll remember you next year, too.

A recent poem was by someone whose work I like very much, Nancy Willard: she is one of those who manages to make ordinary things extraordinary.

A Hardware Store As Proof of the Existence of God

I praise the brightness of hammers pointing east
like the steel woodpeckers of the future,
and dozens of hinges opening brass wings,
and six new rakes shyly fanning their toes,
and bins of hooks glittering into bees,

and a rack of wrenches like the long bones of horses,
and mailboxes sowing rows of silver chapels,
and a company of plungers waiting for God
to claim their thin legs in their big shoes
and put them on and walk away laughing.

In a world not perfect but not bad either
let there be glue, glaze, gum, and grabs,
caulk also, and hooks, shackles, cables, and slips,
and signs so spare a child may read them,
Men, Women, In, Out, No Parking, Beware the Dog.

In the right hands, they can work wonders.

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