ACROSS the way they build a house, clean wood, and steel, and stone,
With joke and curse of husky men to give it good backbone.
The hammers cry, ‘Click-Clack! Click-Clack!’ And ‘Clang!’ the girders shout,
As barrows heaped with rosy brick go wheeling in and out.
Tut-ut! Tut-ut! Tut-ut! Tut! The crane swings up a beam,
While, silver in the April air, froths out its angry steam.
Across the way with laugh and song
They build a house, they build it strong!
And who would guess as I sit here, a timid scribbling mouse,
That all the while just over there I’m working on that house!
I run the barrows down the plank that rocks beneath my tread,
I curse and shout, and fearless walk the white beams overhead;
Across my hand the shavings curl, and drip like golden rain;
The sawdust spurts beneath my saw, and now I run the crane!
Tut-ut! Tut-ut! Tut-ut! Tut! With sweating upturned face
I watch the beam swing up! Swing up! I guide it to its place!
Across the way with laugh and song
I build a house, I build it strong!
And did they know the trick as well, those stalwarts toiling there,
And guess the fellowship that walks the wide world everywhere,
They’d look across at me and laugh, they ‘d shout and sing, and say,
‘With pen and pad and dancing tunes, we ‘re making rhymes to-day!
Tut-ut! Tut-ut! Tut-ut! Tut! The crane is singing too,
For all the while we ‘re weaving words, we ‘re beating time with you!
Across the way we make a song,
We sing it true, we sing it strong!’