Ode to a Plumb Bob

Brass doorknocker
for a house without a door

downward dog
always on point over the same
obvious quarry

flightless rocket
leaded with failure

pendulum made
to mark eternity
one still moment at a time.

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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. I liked this. If I had the time, and I’m sure to find it…I’d make some doggerel out of its silly name.

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  2. Cute. And of course, it’s always at odds with the spirit level….

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  3. Thanks for the comments. Quiet regular – if you do, feel free to share the results here!

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  4. Very nice imagery, Dave! As a long-time woodworker, I’ve been enjoying this series.

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  5. Thanks, Larry – I’m glad these resonate with your own experience of what I suppose we should be calling the secret life of tools.

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  6. Although not very quiet and mostly irregular, I too was inspired to do a riff on Plumb Bob’s funny name. By the end of the first 2 lines I knew I was in trouble due to the bi-sexual undertones of the thing. By the time it finished itself (my verse often does that) it had morphed into a slightly more universal metaphor. Maybe I should have then called it “Bi-Polar Bob”.

    A WILD PLUMB

    Plumb Bob is quite a quirky one
    Just swinging either way.
    Eventually he tires of both
    And finds one place to stay.
    Is our Bob just plumb tuckered out
    With errant weird behavior?
    Does being still help sort him out?
    Is quietness his savior?
    He seems to find a focal point
    To which he should aspire
    But middle road and even planes
    Quite soon cause him to tire.
    Somehow I think our plums of wisdom
    Do not fill Bob’s bill.
    The straight and narrow rarely
    Fits a vacillating will.
    But just as he swings out again
    To plumb the bounds of space,
    Inertia, yawning, drags him back
    To measure our dull space.

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  7. Hey, that’s great, Joan! Thanks for sharing. I’m glad I didn’t go with the more staid alternate name and title mine “Ode to a Plummet.”

    Evidently “plumb bob” is a corruption of the Latinate word for lead, plumbum.

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  8. Golly! That’s fascinating info. I might never have become acquainted with ‘Bob’ in that case but Plummet would bring on a whole new set of images..cause really it does plummet straight down all the while hanging safely by it’s tail. However, whatever name you chose to call your poem, it reads as sweet. It would still have those 4 wonderful metaphors ending with “Pendulum made to mark eternity one still moment at a time.”

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