Marianne Boruch

Tool & Shade
April 13, 2012 Boruch Marianne

Tool & Shade

“Every tool has two ends, one working on the material,
the other on the man.”  –John Halsham, 1907


A brush of two minds still

comes to one point.


I pick it up in the big windowed room.

Light for these artists, though

imagine dark here.  Imagine how

and because and no matter: you draw

yourself drawing.


Philosophers drink coffee to spin

their webs.  Someone else poured that cup

and drove to work late.

A glass pot with its fake silver band could mean

minimum wage, the steam

a sting that she parked wrong, in a hurry

and keeps thinking about the ticket.  Heavy,

holding that thing up.


In studio, the sound

of a brush, a conte crayon, a pencil

losing something.  Fifteen whish whishings

make the quiet

more quiet. It goes on

a long time, a near


nothing at all, a passing, until the ends—

who cares about ends.  I was drawing, wasn’t I?

A shape, weird

hurtling up through the paper.



Marianne Boruch was the Jennifer Jahrling Forese Writer-in-Residence
this past spring at Colby College. Her 11th poetry collection is
Bestiary Dark (Copper Canyon Press, 2021). A fourth
book of essays—Sing by the Burying Ground—will be published
by Northwestern University Press next year.