Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Knife Sharpener (319/365)

Neighborhood Knife Sharpener
(Lincolnwood, IL ~ Circa 1966):

He's pushing his hand-cart,
with bells loudly clanging,
announcing his arrival to the housewives.

His skin the color of dark honey,
the grinding whir of his tools,
the scratching sounds of metal on metal,
the iron-metallic smell hanging in the air.

Wide-eyed children watching.

This is not my neighborhood knife sharpener, but looks very similar especially the cart.


Anonymous said...

I vividly remember the scissors sharpener and his cart and bell in my home village of Glenview. The rare times he waddled his cart through my little community were occasions that still carry some of the greatest mystical portent of my life. No kidding. I have had a picture in my mind for over fifty years of Jim Zarlenga (didn't know his name then, but was told it many years later as an adult) and his handcart with a foot trendle powered grinding wheel- pushing it with his weary waddle from one sore hip to the other through my village's streets the turning of the wooden wheels ringing that bell, one of the most gentle while hypnotic sounds I have ever heard. Quietly women would walk out with their shears, still wearing their aprons or perhaps in rollers, with their kitchen knives, their sewing tools to have them quietly sharpened right at the hedge by this beatific old man. Sitting in a class, one sad grey day at OLPH school, nuns putting me to sleep with geography or what-not, scissors sharpener's bell suddenly to sound, softly chiming up through the street. I see his silhouette disappearing in the shafts of winter light coming through the canopy of trees shading the street from both winter wind and cloudpart light... He's gone, but he's right here, as I'll never forget him.

Otter said...

Thank you for your beautiful memory. It made my day. I called and shared it with my mom who is a parishioner of OLPH. She said to say hi and thank you too.

I hope your writing continues to bring joy and blessing to those around you. It certainly brought light into my winter day. Happy New Year. And thanks again for taking the time to write.