My father caught the plastics wave,
when synthetics were a cool science
and well before they filled the Pacific.
He hired poor East Cleveland locals
each quickly learning the factory skills
and soon becoming a troop of craftsmen.
Leroy perfected furnace times,
and placed the racks with exact care
leaving a smooth finish on each hanging tool.
Jackson could measure coating thicknesses
with his fingers better than a micrometer,
tossing rejects to assure high quality.
John knew how to keep feeders open
and thus consistent extrusions
for excellent medical tubing.
Charlie mixed plastisol
with colors to envy Da Vinci
and texture to shame greek statues.
My father is gone now,
the factory is a toxic site,
but I will never forget those men who raised me.
— by Sabio Lantz, Jan 2017
Prompt: Kim, at d’Verse Poets, challenge us to “write a poem about an artisan or wright, for example a weaver, thatcher, wheelwright or carpenter, or any other craftsman you can think of.” Kim offered us two Seamus Heaney poems about craftsman to inspire. One of Heaney’s poems begins: “My father worked with a horse-plough,…”.
My dear love’s mother passed this last weekend (and therefore I wrote this poem), and the grieving has me thinking thankfully of my deceased parents too. Thus these waves of influence brought forth this poem tonight.