Shovel Work

Some tools should hold up even with
a lifetime’s tasks. My shovel might.
Its forged blade and all steel handle
worked with the ground and my father
and my brothers to burry my mother.
Planting flowers just now, its turning
of the earth recalled the place of her
rest so that my shovel held that place
with this and my mother to these flowers.

To wield willingly ever works wonders.
In Latinate language: labor dignifies.
Glory blooms with flowers from ground
where we once bent, shoveling soil for
seed and sprout. Why am I winding
words this way? In days when all daily
bread was toiling won, would any have
written such lines after planting only
a few flowers from a friend? But many
gardeners sang, and a few rhymed.
And would not most past planters have
moved earth with stout blade to burry
mother (and even every second child)?

Surely their spades, too, turned up
common ground, revealing a shared life
beneath each light of parent, child, bloom.

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