Our Factory (1996)

We break the day by waking up our factory;
The cyclone parts, and are we ever glad to be.
So ring the bell, the better part of life is here,
The meaning, love, and joying of, is very clear.

Giant shelves of steel gleam;
Stamp the presses, strong and grim;
Burnt oil smells, compressors hymn;
Our waking island’s not a dream.

Tides of power rush on through:
Electric, steam, and gas and air;
Pipes and wires flexing here
For the hands of “I can do”.

Competent, and with control,
O Perfect product, be our goal.
Right Desire, never tire,
Climbing ever higher, higher.

Motors roar, conveyors fly,
Solid men are standing by;
Glance upon us, signaling—-
Whip together, separate, one!

Turn that wheel, get up speed;
Focus sharp there, mark the need.
Full attention, guide it; get behind it, ride it!
Drive yourself efficiently!

Spinning rollers—-vibes of steel;
All about me—-good to feel.
Stainless panels—-let ’em roll;
Stamp together! Print in soul!

Edge to edge and side to side
All we make is endless pride;
Pride of Planner’s, Thinker’s, “Go!
Sure I had it, now it’s so!”

Yes, he had it, he was right,
Life is here in genius flight.
He took the earth, changed it, shaped, redesigned it,
Made the wants of body, mind.

Two-pound ovens, railroad cars,
Hand-held scopes for unknown stars,
Piano pedals, rud’s for ships,
Nine-foot jets for “Be there!” trips.

Slanting down, soaring high,
Full conveyors hum on by.
Measuring, wrenching, tooling fast,
Man by man the job flies past.

One by one by one they come,
Silver chains and boxes flow,
Stop and twist and turn and stop,
One by one by one they go.

All these orders coming in,
Newer product’s going to win.
Fill ’em, pack ’em, slap ’em down,
Count ’em up and wrap ’em ’round.

“Look out! Jam!”

Trouble now, but that’s a “nought”,
Cancel “Jam” out with thought.
Step right to it, see the cause, undo it,
Then back on track to make up time.

Our fingers sweat and shine with life,
Our shirts and pants are sticking;
All in control of holy strife—-
This city’s heart is ticking.

Ten more pallets—-that’ll do;
One last order strides on through.
Comes in searching with numbers set,
Writes out tickets of no regret.

Ten one ton safes, all coal-mine black,
White gold inside, like this day;
A sacred life to keep intact
On a paper of That’s My Way.

Then, one, by one, by one, they come;
Hang the doors and close ’em—-so.
Stop, and twist, and turn, and stop;
One, by one, by one, they go.

All these orders going out,
Older products still have clout.
Take ’em, stack ’em, read their codes,
Strap ’em up and weigh their loads.

Deed-rich towers, there they stand,
Angled “V” to cross the land.
From “My intent” of mind’s invent
To complete perfection endlessly.

Loader! Forklift! Over here!
Make it fast! Haven’t got all year!
(Cold blades under, smooth and swift;
Now up, tilt back; oh, nifty lift!)

Trucks are empty, feed ’em fast!
World’s awaiting, waking, vast!
Houston, New York, Rome, Paris!
Forev’ L.A. and young Boise!

Farmers, doctors, waiters, sec’s,
Pert saleswomen and tall exec’s.
And some one person in some one place
Is seeing the options of some one case.

“Ring!!!” Oh! It’s over! Where did it go?
Did we have lunch? I can’t remember. No?
Oh well, that was the bell.
Now to sweep, and clean up well.

Motors sigh, and rollers cease.
All is quietly at peace.
We dim the lights and take last sight
Of tomorrow’s ready-set might.

We end the day by closing up our factory.
We’ve earned a rest, and earned it ever happily.
The city lights are beaconing a welcome cheer,
The joy and love and meaning of is very clear.

This entry was posted in Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Our Factory (1996)

  1. Opus Dei says:

    If ‘Calumet K’ were to be a poem, it would be THIS! — I felt, I WAS in MY factory!

  2. Thank you so much for the high comparison, and I’m glad it was YOUR factory!

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