For Howard Gardener, Arthur Kemelman and Mike Rogerson
How I envy them to make with their fingers
precisely what their imaginations
and knowledge dictates! I have watched for hours
a plasterer creating surfaces
smooth as silk, a bricklayer building
an oriel window. I have three
disparate friends, each of them a stranger
to the others, but with this common skill.
One inlays turned olive wood with the green
of malachite, the blue of lapis
and the brilliance of gold leaf. Another,
to classic specifications, fashions
a guitar, constructs a steam engine.
The third is a surrealist sculptor
in paper, a dada master of drawing,
a pointillist painter of the absurd.
They are perfectionists, enamoured,
respectful of the materials they use,
heirs to such long traditions.