Ode to a House Jack

This entry is part 13 of 31 in the series Odes to Tools


This time, there are no magic beans.
Every man-jack turns into
an acme-threaded beanstalk.

The hound under the porch
noses at the growing
hoard of sunlight

as the old house
climbs groaning
into the sky.

Series Navigation← Ode to a Plumb BobOde to a Measuring Tape →

11 Replies to “Ode to a House Jack”

  1. Oh yes, yes, the banner is lovely – subtle, haunting, negativa…! and how wonderful to find the audio recording today on Morning Porch! Beautiful new things!

  2. It was comforting to see the long ago original idea of the term ‘jacked up’ illustrated in this delightful poem complete with hound dog who probably thought it was the rapture. Love it! The good old fashioned jack. “Jacked UP”” as in lifted to beanstalk heights. “Screwed UP(wards)” as in ‘elevated’ by acme threads. Yeah!!

    The current term pejorative term (and who knows how it got, should we say so ‘twisted’) has all but obliterated the humble but aspiring jack term, unless you are on the highway jacking up your car, in which case you are truly jacked. To show how out of the lingo loop I really am, when I first heard “jacked up” from a friend I though she was all exited about something as in “pumped” . Duh. Although I have my suspicions, I ain’t going to speculate exactly how Jack morphed into so many different permutations. But here are some of them for us urban lingo challenged http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=jacked+up

  3. Extraordinary!

    Reduced, clarified, yet still “groaning”.

    Burgeoning stanzas spreading like smoke. Drawn, filled, colored, modified, altered, handled, flapped and rolled out like a gel transparency. Punchy lines.

    So glad you sold the cow!

  4. Oh, I see you didn’t sell the cow. Some days a small poem can loom so large I can’t find my way around it. The good stuff exceeds what I can take in.

    I’ve noticed the foreshortened climb of the column of stanzas yields a great field reversal. Yes it billows upwards, but the house is also somehow perched, reduced by the distance of great height, in that tiny stanza at the bottom, much as any of your images of tree-tops reflected in a puddle in the dirt.

    Pardonnez moi! I’ve broken my intent to only comment when sober…

  5. Possibly my favorite of the tool poems so far. So much gets packed into such a tiny bean of a poem.

  6. Nice. I always thought the business of jacking up and moving a whole house was a fairly impressive show of human capability.

  7. Jean – Glad you liked the banner. The idea of using a foggy trees photo came from a Via Neg reader who probably prefers to remain anonymous (if I’m wrong, she can feel free to out herself). In fact, it’s a crop and morph of the same photo that’s in the background of the Twitter version of “Morning Porch.” I may yet return it to its original blue tint, and change the site colors to match. Haven’t decided.

    Joan – I didn’t think of that meaning of “jacked up.” Good thing, probably – it would’ve been a longer poem if I had.

    I have a picture of another Jack on Visual Soma right now: here.
    i don’t know why there are so many, disparate uses for that word. It’s a verbal jack-of-all-trades.

    Bill – I think I’m still at the finding-the-cow stage. Which is not to be confused with having a cow. Because you can’t have your cow and eat it too, jack.

    Friends don’t let friends drink and blog. The accepted pattern is drink and blaughhhh!

    Now I need a drink.

    sarah b – Thanks. It’s my favorite too, actually. Poems like this don’t come around very often. I feel blessed.

    David – Yeah. The most I’ve done is jack up one end of this house to put new footers under it. Of course, if we ever tried to put this house on a flatbed, it would fall apart.

  8. Having participated in the jacking up of a house, this one really made me smile. I like the poem a lot. The banner is very effective.

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