Tinkers

Not Poets, please! I beg. That's far too grand for us
Not Wordsmiths, though that is within our radius.
Tinkers rather, for we take word coins and rub them in the dirt
And shine them with its earthy power to make them bright and pert
And solder them together in ways not done before
So each one strikes another's fire and they all glow the more;
And sometimes hammer them a bit (but gently! hand of mine)
And drill and dress each syllable and push it into line.
But, so the whole should never pall and leave the reader bored
We may leave one out of line - naughty word.

We rake discarded lexicons for tired, worn-out words
Like philomel and amaranth and gossamer and sherds.
We try to give them all new life, that they may, once again,
Be crystalline and breath-taking in Language's domain.
Oftimes we give new meaning where the older one's forgot.
Is 'a sherd of dreaming' nothing but a bit of broken pot?

Our aim is to communicate and never be obscure
And use those tinkered syllables in ways serene, ensure
That readers pick them up and stow them in a place
Where they fill a tiny empty well: illuminate a space;
And somtime - I hope many times, we tinkers may aspire
To fashion from a bunch of coins we shined up in the mire
A quiverful or arrows, straight as light and light as air -
Arrows very nearly painless - you will scarcely know they're there
But they'll pierce your worldy armour, be it made of what alloy
And they'll prick the very soul of you and make it bleed for joy.

by Tony Jennett

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