THE GLASSBLOWER'S LAMENT
("When I am in Kyoto, I wish I was in Kyoto."- Basho)
At the bow of a Gondola
on the briny swirling waters
of the Grand Canal of Venice, he lands
on the ancient stone steps of his studio.
He heats grains of sand and pigments,
huffs and puffs on a blowpipe,
twirls oozing molten blue glass as
deftly as a plastic surgeon.
At one with his art,
he doesn't notice singed
eyebrows and black knuckle hair,
pin feathers on a naked chicken.
His alchemy morphs the mix into an
luminescent cobalt flask
as delicate as a fetal membrane
shimmering in the morning sunlight.
Craftsmen like the glassblower are obsolete.
Despite Ned Lud's* futile tantrum
the clang and din of machines drone on,
replacing knowing hands with a
glinty robotic sea of Ipods,
Bluetooth, and Blackberries
made by automated tinmen of Oz who
wish to be anywhere but where they are.
An IT consultant nervously
chews on his hand, comforted by
recalling a flock of squawking
geese overhead in V formation
as he slowed down at the easy-pass
toll both on the way to work.
Milton P. Ehrlich
*In 1779, in a village somewhere in Leicestershire, Ned Lud destroyed two machines used for knitting hosiery, which he perceived to be a threat to the jobs of skilled artisans. (The term "luddite" has since come to connote any person with an aversion to new technology.)