Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Barrel Roller

The Barrel Roller*
for Buford Counts

The young ones try
it with numbers,

count revolutions across
yards of old and lofted planks until

the room is done
and the cork faces out.

But the old ones just laugh at the science,
know that there are no equations
for art.

You just get by doing,
the way knives are sharpened to put
chickens out of your misery.

But their time'll come.
We forget we used
to count the rings, too,
wasted good time looking for short cuts
to the future.

*Buford Counts was a barrel roller at Jack Daniel's Distillery for over 30 years. His ability to get filled barrels of whiskey from one end of the floor to the other without machinery is well documented by his few living peers. He was also my grandfather.

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