The Smell of Pencils

The Smell of Pencils

The roaring machine cuts and shapes

A cedar log into neat straight planks

And creates the smell of pencils.

The dust and noise fade

Into the dull drone

Of a teacher talking Latin.

Motes of dust in a stray sunbeam,

The sound of Latin verbs,

And the lingering smell

Of freshly sharpened pencils.

And a boy with dirty knees

Watching the dust drift.

To the sound of pencils sharpened

And the smell of freshly forgotten Latin verbs,

The boy imagines a giant machine

That chops and hews

The trunks of trees

Into neat straight planks.

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