On Tools

What future use will be our tools
for building greater monuments,
technologies to reach beyond
our yesterday capacity,
if all that drives tomorrow’s will
is to create for their own sake
more grand machines to take the place
of what was once achieved with hands?

What purpose, past mere science gained,
will drive the new mechanics’ soul
to strive outside the here and now
of knowledge limited to cogs,
efficiencies and labor’s yield?

Posterity will need more art
than engineering can provide;
lest it learn just technology
that serves as means to many ends,
and can be turned cruel and unjust
by pure philosophy’s intent.

What good these tools, these saws and nails,
these plows and drills, these guns and bombs,
without instructions for their use
that clearly spell the dangers out?

What will our far descendants know
of how we brought these things to bear
in carving out a worthwhile world,
one nurtured carefully and shared,
if all we choose to leave behind
is how to build, not reasons why?

22 MAY 2007

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