Poetry: Top carpenter

Top carpenter





Hello, Jesus, have we met before?

You’re a carpenter. So am I.

I’ve been building shelters ever since you came.

And long before.





I’ve built some stables ...

In Jerusalem? Hell, yes!

Some in Labrabor,

And I’ve thrown up some swaying skyscrapers

Along Chicago’s North Lake Shore.





Union wages? Christ, man,

What do you take me for?

I’m just like you, I want the best for me and mine ...

The cross I bear is waiting

Income damned unemployment line.





And I suffer all those children unto me,

All three!

That’s why I build a stable

To lay a table

For the wife, her old folks, the kids and me.





Well, Jesus, you were one swell guy.

I’m sorry how you had to die.

They got you, Joe Hill, Martin Luther King,

Sacco and Venzetti, the Rosenburgs.

You know why!

Cause you’re the guys that spoke at Union meetings.

Said, 'Share the fishes and the loaves,

And give your riches to the poor.'





'Yes,' said Jesus, 'we have met before,

It was time

We put ten million people back to work

Without starting up a war.'





'When we quit building

Those damned skyscrapers

And went to raising houses for the poor.'





'Yes,' said Jesus, 'I’ve seen you before,

You’re a working man,

I’ve seen you with Peter

On Galilee’s wide shore.'





'It’s guys like you we need real bad,

I wish,' said Christ,

'Our God had made some more.'





– Russell Farrell (The author was a logger and carpenter in Washington and Oregon. He died in 1997 at the age of 86. )