The Carpenter’s Tale

by | May 2, 2021

The George Floyd murder trial evoked many emotions across the Unites States. Played out before our eyes were a number of themes that have plagued us for years. At center was the issue of race.

For those who have experienced some of racism’s tentacles it is difficult to believe, or join, a system that has proven untrustworthy. For those who wonder why many ‘of color’ cannot get over it – it’s difficult relating to years of feeling marginalized and “less than.”   

The Hammer and the Nail is my attempt to depict power disparity. It is also my attempt to show that if a house is to be built it is important that both play a role. The hammer has the power, but tomorrow reveals how the house is truly held together. Something is created that has a sense of purpose and soul. In the end there is a truth that exceeds contrivances. Who is to say that one person is better than another? In the words of Bob Dylan, “The answer is blowin’ in the wind.”

The Hammer and the Nail

Ardent in its nature
The hammer hit the nail
Over and over again
Those endless in a pail
Received a blow to its head
Pounded from on high
Two existences quite different
No person could deny

Each night the lofty hammer
Returned to its nice box
While those many nails
Awaited next day’s knocks
Tied to the workman’s hands
One was backed by force
The other waited anxiously
With no control of course

One day an ancient carpenter
Understood the desperate plight
Of the weary nail
Not one was left to sight
Then the powerful hammer
Alone with itself
Proved useless in the moment
And headed for the shelf

So listen gentle reader
To the hammer and the nail
For without each other
Many efforts will soon fail
And let us still remember
Despite the hammer’s place
Without the valiant nail
We’d lose a long-fought race

The human beings of this world are forever linked. Somehow, we stray and believe that our differences are to be feared. Somehow, we marginalize those considered different. Somehow, this must change. We have all had turns being hammers and nails. Unfortunately, for some it’s been a lifetime as the nail. Hopefully, one day, we will come together in understanding. No one knows this better than the carpenter referred to in this poem. 

 P.S. Epilogue

A house held together
By two so entwined
Will prove to be quite sturdy
With the test of time
A nation often lost
Like a ship without a sail
Might find it beneficial
To heed this solemn tale

Love your neighbor. See you soon.


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