We have outside steps at our house in Poland. We sweep them occasionally.

I have illustrated most of my poems, so an illustrated version may even now be sitting elsewhere in cyberspace . . . or maybe in a book.

The Step Sweeper

I’m not a step sweeper; I’m a step-sweeper’s daughter,
but I have a step sister who sweeps steps with water.
She can sweep a steep step with her step-sweeping broom
and then mop it all dry and be finished by noon.

She will sweep and then polish the longest stair flight
’til the balustrades gleam, and the nosings are bright
’til the risers and landings and winders and newels
glisten and sparkle like so many jewels.

But you know it’s essential to sweep before buffing?
Because once, while daydreaming, her mind full of nothing,
She wet-swept a step she had already glossed.
The result, you can guess, was a frictional loss.

First slippy then slidy and somersaultatious.
And bumpy (not glidy) and precipitatious.

She survived. She recovered and wiser. The fact is
she now does her work in a step by step practice.

She sweeps the stairs down, and then polishes up.
She’s the toast of the town and we all raise a cup
to the girl who sweeps steps with a style that’s unique –
Step-sister step-sweeper, now with stepwise technique.

Nick James      Posted in:



Summer 2018, Tresna Czernichów, Poland

Header Image:

Illustration by the Author