Suppliers: Apprenticeship VI, Cape Town 1971

Cape Watchmakers and Jewellers Supplies

Many tiny metal parts
in little boxes, little drawers—
The old men who work here know
where each is and what it’s for.

These old men who wake at dawn,
drink their coffee, feed the dogs
then ride to work, to work among
the springs and winders, wheels and cogs.

One talks about his parents’ time
in Latvia when things were tough.
He says we have it easy now:
“Some people just can’t get enough.”

Another one has Parkinson’s—
He dances, shakes and tics all day.
His shave is rough, his fingers quake;
he mends the watches anyway.


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