Hauling Job Sturge's House


The structure loosed from its foundation stones,
roped and pulleyed to an anchor-point
away from the crumbling cliffside – we pull.

From here to the still centre of the earth,
three thousand nine hundred and sixty-three
miles, and all that volume of igneous,

metamorphic, sedimentary rock,
that mantle of iron magma, that fist
of molten ore – against all that, we pull.

The cables stretch and groan, serrating our
resolve, our heaving shoulders, blistered hands,
in a tug-of-war against gravity –

Until we feel it give, until the earth
falters, lets slip its tether – and we pull.


27 comments:

  1. Inspired by an etching by David Blackwood - http://bit.ly/aktkAU

    Short link - http://bit.ly/s4hauling

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  2. I've never seen a house pulled over the ice like this etching depicts but I have seen them floated from one place to another. They lift them off the foundation and create some sort of raft with empty oil barrels and logs and float it along towing it with the skiffs. Fascinating to watch and a lot of it went on during resettlement. My next book, a paranormal romance, takes place on a resettled island in Newfoundland...and enough about me..love the poem! Great write as usual :)

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  3. There is a scene in The Shipping News about pulling a house over the ice ~ also a lovely image. I enjoyed this

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  4. Yes, I thought of the scene in The Shipping News too!

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  5. Thanks, I guess I have to see that film!

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  6. Anonymous12:37:00 PM

    Job Sturge is my Grandfather

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  7. Really! Well, I am pleased to meet you, although only virtually.

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  8. Such a striking combination of image and words. The same timbre, strength and urgency. It seems like two facets of the same darkly glowing precious stone.

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  9. now that is surely a tug of war to end all wars...i have to imagine though that in olden days they either had to do it this way or just build elsewhere...nice play off the painting though...it is an intriguing piece...and that big anchor...

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  10. This did remind me of the scene from the Shipping News--lovely write!

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  11. Love the metaphor. The journey, the challenge is no challenge if it isn't arduous, doesn't require dedication. We must pull and pull hard to get the work done. The ease of reading your work belies the dedication you give to it. Always wonderful, Sam.

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  12. I don't know about building, I thought more about people working to gather with the earth,to accomplish what seemed as a difficult task.
    and Like it , good job for living room for the readers perception.
    http://leahjlynn.wordpress.com/

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  13. Sam, I love the geological aspect here, and the repetition of we pull, we pull to and we pull, where the and makes all the difference in interpretation. Great write as usual. Thanks for the read.

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  14. the house i live in was moved from two roads over, across the farm fields that form my view. of course this made me think of that, and so much more, man's eternal struggle, moving mountains, somehow we prevail.

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  15. Shipping News is a book by Annie Proulx.
    Great description here - "serrating/our resolve" - I could feel the burden of this.
    Great last two words "we pull" - as much as they had been pulling, they are not really pulling until it gets loose - great metaphor for a lot we do in life.

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  16. you describe every element of this event so impeccably

    spaceship tanka

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  17. This is an amazing poem - "a tug-of-war against gravity" love all of the rich phrasing.

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  18. Leave it to Samuel to bring down the house! Nice job, I can feel the strain on the rope, feel its coarseness, smell the sweat of the fellow next to me, pulling. . .

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  19. A joy to read and reread aloud. Your conceit is perfect.

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  20. This is a captivating image. The pulley that is life, "we pull." Enjoyed this one from beginning to end.

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  21. Found this interesting. I know here in New England, through the last part of the 19th century rather than demolish an existing house, they sometimes lifted it from its foundations, put it on greased logs, and then moved it to a new location. Can only imagine the logistics of doing that by manpower instead of machinery. Well captured, Sam.

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  22. Pull! Wonderful imagery. I thought your poem more powerful than the etching. The struggle, the determination. Great.

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  23. Fantastic write Sam! I've seen many homes raised and moved, and despite the evolution of our machinery, it almost always comes down to brute strength and a keen eye. Pull!

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  24. Very vivid scene you bring to life, Samuel, and very effective use of all the rock types by name to intensify the idea of natural resistance and the heaviness of gravity in our endeavors to save what is ours.

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  25. Amazingly well crafted poem. Something quite Goliath about that house. :-)

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  26. That is a mighty battle, filled with sweat and passion. I loved the determination!

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  27. Wonderful imagery, so vividly written. Great, as always!

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