2/11/14

Unintelligent Design
By:Donal Mahoney


An hour a day,
sometimes more,
I chipped away
with mallet and chisel
on a block of marble
I found in Carrara
and shipped to New York
on the deck of a trawler.

I offered the marble
to a famous sculptor
who told me he works
in granite only
so I grabbed his beret
and one of his smocks
and said I'd sculpt
the block myself
with whittling skills
picked up as a kid
from a drunken uncle
named Whittling Sid.

Several weeks later,
to my surprise,
I finished the bust
of a chimpanzee
simply by wielding
mallet and chisel
the way I wield
pencil and eraser
when hewing a poem.

Working with marble
or working with words,
a sculptor or poet
proves less is more
by chipping away
until something emerges
upright and walking
with a soul of its own.


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Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.


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