The Love Song of J. the Builder
With apologies to T. S. Eliot
Let us go then, you and I,
When the sheathing has been nailed,
the roof all capped,
The building like a carton ready to be wrapped;
Let us go, then, up the temporary stairs
To rooms with drywall-bucket chairs,
And count the days we framed with 2x4s —
The sawdust days weighed down by boring chores,
Jobs that linger like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent,
Leading to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.
In the room the architects sip wine,
Talking of high-R wall design.
By day, the sun pours through the window-panes,
Too much heat through south-side window-panes,
While backyard puddles linger from the rains,
Spreading in the yard, unhelped by drains;
The boxed-in metal chimneys, fake hiding fake,
Are all reflected in the backyard lake.
And on that crisp December night,
Engulfed by darkness, wishing for a light,
I curse the missing subs. Their vans have fled.
Electricians, plumbers — might as well be dead.
And indeed there will be time
Before our permit finally shall expire,
Perhaps — we’re now down to the wire —
Time for punch-list items, twelve or more,
And for the smoke test and the blower door.
There will be time, there will be time
To once again berate the subs — it is no crime —
There will be time to murder and create,
To lift and drop a question on their plate:
“You numbskulls! Dolts! Where were you all these weeks?
Who’s going to seal these gaping hole-saw leaks?”
And time for all the work; more days of woe,
As clumsy fools drop tools upon my toe;
Time for the owners still to change…