Ode to a Socket Wrench

This entry is part 2 of 31 in the series Odes to Tools

wrench set

Better than all power tools
is the socket wrench:

its accommodating nature
its chrome-plated steel
its handling of torque.

It can make a complete revolution
from the smallest arc

& as if time could turn
in either direction
with the click of a lever

the past screwed down
the future loose

a spring-loaded finger
clicks against
the gearwheel’s teeth.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

11 Comments


  1. How delightful. I love how it does not hit you over the head, such as a hammer might do.

    Reply

  2. You’ve turned something utilitarian into something even I can admire, nice one!

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  3. I don’t know how you do it, Dave. but I’m sure glad you do. I really relate to this one. First of all it’s a tool I have actually used, but also as a metaphor for life, it’s lovely. With this tool, we have some hands on control, we still have to consider the past, and we can take little clicky baby steps into the future. Contrast this with a power wrench which bullies its way blindly into the future, shredding the threads of the past and oft times locking a “tire’ into a state where it can never get free.

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  4. Not a word too many. Full of grace. “The past screwed down /the future loose.” Yes.

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  5. Yes, very nice cadence to this. (Which makes me think of cycling, and thus bicycle wrenches…) Spare. Torqued to precision. :-)

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  6. Hey, thanks for the kind words, y’all.

    sarah b – Now you have me thinking I should try an ode to a hammer, too.

    Joan – I can’t help feeling that you’ve understood this poem better than I understand it myself. I’m not sure where some of these posts have been coming from, lately: I’m experimenting with a new technique of writing late at night, when I’m utterly exhausted, and I have to focus hard on every word. For years I’ve done my best writing first thing in the morning, so this represents a 180° switch — a tightening instead of a loosening, I think.

    leslee – Thanks. The cadence is always very important to me.

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  7. Consider an entire toolbox of poems. Just being able to write the words “vice grips” brings tears to my eyes.

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  8. Ah, and you do it all in form — 2,3,2,3… — I love this. Elegant. Like the tool.

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  9. Very nice.

    I like the pic of the socket wrench set next to your feet. Most socket wrenchers find it easier to use their hands. ;)

    Reply

  10. sarah b – Shhh! You’ll hex it. I’m strictly a one-poem-at-a-time kind of guy.

    SB – Thanks. Well, I didn’t intend to write it in any form, but that’s the shape it assumed.

    Jarrett – It depends entirely on what you’re going to use them for.

    Reply

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