Ode to Scissors

This entry is part 8 of 31 in the series Odes to Tools


A pair of old jeans —
I amputate both legs
with a pair of scissors.


I’ve cut myself on paper,
on grass blades,
even on certain sharp words,
but never with scissors.


One on a shelf in the basement
beside the string,
another with the craft paper,
& a third nestled in the sewing cabinet
among spools of thread:
We are rich. We have three pairs of scissors.


Every schoolkid grasps
the concept of a balance of powers
thanks to fist rock, palm paper,
& peace-sign scissors.


Mothers worry about
leaving their children unattended
with a left-handed pair of scissors.


The raccoon going through
the new trash on the riverbank
is delighted to find a shiny orphaned half
of a pair of scissors.


When I come into school wearing glasses
for the first time,
the other kids show me what I look like
by peering through the handles of their scissors.


I’m walking as quickly as I can,
mindful of the scissors.

Series Navigation← Ode to a HatchetOde to a Bucket →

8 Replies to “Ode to Scissors”

  1. I love “we are rich. We have three pairs of scissors.” Had to read that stanza to Martha. And the stanza about the kids showing you what you looked like with glasses. And the raccoon stanza. And the whole thing, really.

  2. I like it all, too. My favorites are the first and fifth stanzas.

    When you do these many-angles poems, you seem to put the stanzas in just the right order. One hits like a wave, and then comes quiet recession. Wallace Stevens is usually over my head, but I love the “Blackbird” thing because of what I perceive to be the same effect.

  3. Oh my gosh. I love good scissors and hate bad ones. When I had a Girl Scout troop, I got so sick and tired of trying to do crafts with crappy child-safe scissors that I went out and bought 18 pairs of the good kind. The troop is disbanded. The scissors remain. If you are rich, what am I? I have scissors at home, at work, in the Sunday School classroom. My scissors are everywhere!

  4. Thanks, Dale! Score another one for writing while dead-tired, I guess.

    Peter – Oddly enough, the order is exactly as they came to me. Stevens is a little over my head, too, but I do love some of his poems, and that’s one of them.

    I actually wanted to write a ghazal here, but it didn’t work out.

    Jennifer – Wow, you are a scissors magnate! I have an uncle who’s that way about flashlights. He goes to flea markets almost every weekend searching for new ones to add to his collection. Because it can be so difficult to find a good, reliable flashlight, you know.

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