Wooden Handle Kind of Day

wooden handleIt was a wooden handle kind of day

A day that backs and hands despise

Callouses staved off the worst

While tender hands suffered dearly

Raw redness a constant reminder

Until the first of many blisters formed

The softest spots their first targets

Gloves offered little protection

Hard working hands not immune

An irritating delay but not a reprieve

Wooden handles show no favorites

The long hoe favors the shoulder

While the shovel tightens the neck

And the rake bemoans the back

Disciplined weeds refuse to yield

Tap roots anchored like rebar

As if to dare the ambitious gardener

Dig deeper if you have the time

Another ache, another pain

Sweat drips mercilessly below

Moisture on the damp wooden handle

The spade slices deep, but not too deep

Lever, lift, deposit, and repeat

Over and over unless you meet a stone

A worthy adversary of any size

A boot or different point of purchase

Perspiration flows like a river

Hoe in the row, that’s the way to go

Cut a trough for some water to flow

Up, down, up, down, repeating sound

Can’t let these weeds go to seed

Definitely something no garden needs

Wheel barrow handles also wood

As are axe, sickle, and scythe

Nothing electric brought out to play

It’s a wooden handle kind of day

Dirt packed under broken fingernails

Scratches, blood, insect bites

All reminders later tonight

Gentle breeze, sun far past center sky

The clods all smooth for another few days

Bodies stretch to see the progress made

Aches and pains and lemonade

No escape from the wooden handle day



Latest posts by R J Schwartz (see all)

R J Schwartz

I write about everything and sometimes nothing at all. I'm fascinated by old things, rusty things, abandoned places, or anywhere that a secret might be unearthed. I'm passionate about history and many of my pieces are anchored in one concept of time or another. I've always been a writer, dating back to my youth, but the last decade has been a time of growth for me. I'm continually pushing the limitations of vocabulary, syntax, and descriptive phrasing.

4 thoughts on “Wooden Handle Kind of Day

  • October 3, 2016 at 4:35 PM

    Oh my gosh! Well do I remember those wooden handle type days. My husband was not a gardener, he loved to mow and trim the lawns, but, gardening was my responsibility. I was young, slender and strong in those days, plus I had two little kids who helped out with their little plastic garden sets. I love your poem, Ralph. It just smoothly glides right along and a joy to read. Thanks for the memories – even the nights when I was so sore and scratched it took a long time to find a comfortable position to sleep. Well done on the poem as always.

    Well done on the book advertisement, too.

  • October 3, 2016 at 4:40 PM

    I felt every drop of sweat, and every ache and pain. Very well described. I’m glad it’s in a poem and not what I’m doing right now.

  • October 3, 2016 at 5:47 PM

    That’s great Ralph, and I relate, those muscles and bones don’t respond like they used to. The gardeners lament, but there is no other work that brings us closer to nature and what it must have been to eek out an existence in times gone by. Some great lines and imagery my friend. Great work.

  • October 4, 2016 at 5:53 AM

    Wooden handle type of days are a quite common thing around here. Although we have chainsaws, hedge trimmers etc….sometimes you need to just use the axe, shovel, and hoe and other wooden handle tools. very good verse, Ralph.


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