"Rehab Revival," November 8th, 2019, Studio 10 Gallery, Brooklyn, running time: 01:08:36.
Matt Freedman: Thanks everybody for coming. Thanks David especially for letting us be in here. And Kate and Doug, in absentia. As you may know, I thought we were not going to do any shows for a long time because Tim, after getting both his hips done April 1st, got both of his knees replaced on 9/11, which is just under two months ago. So he may have to get up and down a few times to get the mechanisms working again.
You weren't awake for the procedure, but I assume from the images and from my online research, that in order to put the cup--First they saw off the top of your femur, right?
And then they saw off the bottom of your …ibia and then they take a steel ball… and do they use a hammer? They actually drive it into the bone with like a mallet of some sort?
(Tim: “I asked him. He said they don't do that. So not everyone does that.”)
Well how did they get it in there?
(Tim: “It's an alignment thing. They use a little tiny reciprocating saw with a jig with all the angles.”)
But then wait, how does the steel replacement for the top of the tibia get into the tibia itself?
(Tim: “It has a little hole, but it has a little pin and it's flat.”)
So it just sits on top. I thought it was....
(Tim: “The tibia, they grind it flat, it floats a flat plane and then a little pin.”)
Oh man. I thought I had a really nice tie-in there. Never mind. It just occurred to me. Well, let me go back to my original thought, which was that it was just two months ago, we were in the Hospital for Special Surgery, visiting Tim and Caroline.
(Tim: “You came at a good time. You came the day after, when all the anesthetic was still in there.”)
Right. You were about is cheerful as I've ever seen you, which was good because while we were there this man came in who was a volunteer spiritual advisor or resource. I'm not sure what he was. He was very tall. He was a little bit abashed about his job, but he was pretty determined. He had a nice shock of gray hair, a leather vest, a red flannel shirt, corduroy pants and hiking boots. He was sort of a dude. He said he was available for any kind of conversation you might need of a spiritual nature and you said you didn't need a conversation of a spiritual nature, but he was not about to leave. He said, “I see that you've had both knees replaced.” and you said, “Yes,” and he said, “I had both my knees replaced in 1991 and six weeks later I was leading an expedition though the Alps.”
(Tim: “That’s bullshit. There is no way he could be leading an expedition through the Alps in six weeks.”)
Now you know that. This changes everything in a way. He did say six weeks, right? Six weeks. Yeah. Well, in 27 years you will be saying you were doing a gig the next day. But at the time I think he was trying to give you some encouragement. He was actually a nice guy. And despite the fact that he came on very strong with his story, which now we wonder about, he was quite modest. He said he wasn't really a mountain climber. He was just somebody who enjoyed climbing mountains and that he had written a book called The Meek Mountaineer. It was supposed to allow people who had any aspirations to enjoy themselves at higher elevations the courage to go out and do just that, without feeling that they had to be world class athletes or adventurers.
I went home and ordered the book. It was perhaps the most boring book I've ever read. It actually proved his point. It was just a catalog of going up a mountain and then going back down a mountain and all the people he met going up the mountain and then going back down the mountain. It's possible to write about climbing the Matterhorn and not be interesting at all. This was the great climb of his life, the Matterhorn, which I think He has gone up many times. It's about 14,500 feet high, up in the Alps. People used to die all the time going up it. Now they don't die quite so often.
Anyway, Frederick is going through his stories and finally he stops and says, “So, how do you all know each other?” We say, “Well, we're all artists and we know each other from the little art world.” And he says, “Oh, I'm in a choir and my best friend in the choir is Alice Neel's son. Do you know Alice Neel?” I said, ”We don't know Alice Neel, but we know of Alice Neel.” And he said, “Yeah, she wanted to paint my portrait. She said my face was a profile right out of the Church of England.” We said, “Did you sit for her? And he said, “No, because she always saw the worst in people. And I didn't want her to make a painting of me that would reveal the worst of me.”
I think even Alice Neel could not have found much more than we saw. Alice Neel's grandson is a filmmaker who made a documentary out of mostly archival footage of the family and some interviews with her sons, her surviving children, and some art friends. She has a couple of sons. One is a doctor. One is a banker, who I think describes himself as somewhat to the right of Mussolini. That son said, “I don't approve of the bohemian culture, frankly. Many people have been harmed by the bohemian culture. I consider that I have been harmed by the bohemian culture,” Which I guess you can't argue with. Alice Neel did lead quite a bohemian life. The other brother said, “Well, if she had been a better mother, she would have been a worse artist, so I guess I'm content.”
I’m not sure the source of the factors that have led to Tim having not only his knees replaced in the last few years, but also his hips, and also his shoulders. We don't have much left. Ankles, wrist. Tim would like to think this comes from his youthful exploits as a high school football star or wrestling star or even genetics, probably genetics. But you also spent a lifetime in the wood fabrication industry.
(Tim: “That sounds good. The wood fabrication industry.”)
This is my tribute to a David Scher drawing. David and Doug have a show up at Ursinus College that we'll get into in a bit later. There are many kinds of carpenters; people who put up walls, people who fix windows, people who build tables. Tim was mostly a high-end cabinet maker, but that still involved a lot of schlepping. Things can go wrong. You can’t get away from the schlep. I was a carpenter myself for a few years and I was definitely the schlepper. It was mostly in Philadelphia. I worked for Marty Solitrin and Don Macpherson, who had been what was called Red Diaper Babies back in the day, children of radicals who were designed by their parents to never fit into bourgeois society. So they became carpenters, intellectual carpenters. So I can actually say my boss was a Jewish carpenter, for a while. My main skill as a carpenter was that I would collect the newspapers on the trains going out of Philadelphia into the suburbs in the morning--I was cross commuting. As people came into the city for office jobs, I would be going out to work on their homes in suburbia. I would take all the newspapers and read them on the way out and then at lunchtime I would provide a summation of the news with commentary, which was much more valued than my skills as a carpenter.
After graduating from post hole digging, I was briefly assigned to paint houses, but I didn't calculate the angle of the ladder properly on my first job. There was a large bush in front of the picture window, so I tipped the ladder against the building, put a can of white paint here, began to paint, and then felt--it was sort of like a Buster Keaton movie--the ladder slowly slipping away from the building until it deposited me and all the white paint in the Azalea bush.
The other memorable job we had was fixing a bathroom for a drug dealer who wanted more tiling in his bathroom. We took the toilet out and began to tile in the bathroom, but it was Friday and we ran out of time. We said, “We'll come back on Monday and finish the job.” On Monday we came back. It turned out that the drug dealer and his family had continued to use the toilet in the hallway because it was still a toilet. When we objected, he said, “Don't worry. My guys will take care of it”, and the guys took care of it and then he paid in bags of money.
I won't go into many more stories of my carpentry days…. I think the one time that I thought I would be able to use skills that would push me past the level of halftime entertainment was when we were building a deck in Germantown. We had to calculate the angle of the outer corner and I don't quite know how—I’d like to think I used the Pythagorean theorem to calculate this angle, but unless it was actually a right-angled deck, that wouldn't help. I may have just simply realized that the sum of all the angles of a triangle had to be 180 degrees, so you could add these up, subtract them from 180 to get this angle. I don't know why we didn't just build it. I think they were just patronizing me when they told me I was being helpful.
The smaller sculptures that you see here that David built, as he describes them, are made by taking triangles and rotating them in a ring formation, creating a kind of twisted form that he said was inspired by the shape of a stellarator. A stellarator is an almost utopian machine designed to achieve fusion energy. It has a somewhat complicated history. It was actually invented by a man named Lyman Spitzer in 1951. He was a physicist at Princeton and also an avid outdoorsman. He was on his way to Aspen for a ski trip when his father called him up and said, “Did you see the cover story in the New York Times?” A physicist in Argentina, an ex-Nazi name Ronald Richter, had created a fusion machine to provide Juan Peron with immense, endless inexpensive, energy. This is a dream of all scientists for the last hundred years.
When Lyman Spitzer read the story, he figured out fairly quickly that the machine that Richter had described was impossible and in fact, Richter later admitted that he had faked his results, but Spitzer was intrigued, and on the ski lift in Aspen, he thought of the idea of the stellarator. The name comes from star, energy from the stars. Stars are basically fusion machines. They have immense amount of fuel and they use ionized gases to push atoms together and the immense heat produces more energy. It's hard to do that on earth with our limited resources, but his idea would be that you would create this plasma cloud. Plasma is composed of ions, free electrons. Along with gas and liquids and solids, it's one of the four basic states of nature, but it's very hard to maintain. The idea is that if you heat it up, you can create fusion and get energy out of that. But ions are always trying to fly away or merge together. The Russians had invented a machine called a Tokamak, for torus magnetized container, that works a little bit more simply, just push an immense amount of energy in and try to achieve the same result. It seemed more promising, but it you can't get more energy out than you put in. Lyman’s clever idea was that if you twist the torus you create this undulating ribbon of ionized gas and that will keep the ions from migrating out of the tube. Then you can achieve fusion using just magnetic force and get this huge influx of energy. It still hasn't worked out, but it has potential.
When he first started up with the stellarator, of course the Pentagon saw its potential as a bomb making device and it was immediately classified. Ironically enough it became part of the H-Bomb program at Princeton that Lyman himself had named the Matterhorn Project because, in addition to his other skills, he was an avid mountain climber and he thought that the Matterhorn Project was a suitable name for the creation of a bomb that could destroy the world.
He was the first man to climb Mount Thor. Thor is only about 5,500 feet tall. It's on Baffin Island in Northern Canada, but it has the world's largest vertical drop, about 4,000 feet. It's an incredibly spectacular peak. I think he went up in the back side. I think it took another 10 or 20 years for somebody to go up the vertical side. Lyman is also the father of the Hubble telescope--that was his real interest. Somewhere up there, the Spitzer telescope is in space watching over us.
These larger sculptures that Dave has made that you can see, are built on the notion of three concentric rings of rippling water spreading out from a central site. There's one here, there's one here, and then, he says there's another which is centered on the same spot as the first one. It's a form he says could never be achieved in nature, although I have seen it. I saw it in 2005, in Moscow. I was in Moscow as a fake journalist covering a real chess tournament in February. It was pretty miserable. There was ice everywhere. One day we went into a courtyard on our way to visit an independent arts organization. They didn't seem to have the means to clear the ice from the streets, or the courtyard, certainly. There were thick layers of ice everywhere. I kept falling down. But in this courtyard was this perfect series of concentric circles frozen onto the ground. And all around it, the doors to all the buildings were open, because they had just opened the doors and the ice had flowed around them. You would go in and out of the buildings, I guess, until springtime. Nobody could figure out a way to actually clear the ice away from the doors. It was a spooky half acre of frozen time.
In 1991, as Gorbachev was trying to institute reforms into the communist system, you may remember that the generals of the Red Army staged a coup. They put him under house arrest and tried to get all the members of the government and the army to go along with the coup so they could reverse reforms and maintain the power of the Communist Party. Boris Yeltsin, who at the time was the president of the Russian Federation of Russia, one of the many soviet socialist states, stood up to them and famously stood on top of a tank. He rallied hundreds of thousands of people in Red Square and eventually the army turned to his side and the coup plotters were forced to release Gorbachev. Within a few years the Soviet Union had fallen. We met a young man there named Sasha, sort of a cool cat, and we asked him about that day. I guess Americans were still fixated on the past, the notion that we were in a post-historical era and the future was still bright. We said, “So were you there? Were you in Moscow the day of the great uprising?” He said, “Yeah, I was there.” We said, “Were you in Red Square with Yeltsin and the tanks?” He said, “No, I needed to walk my dog. I was walking my dog about three blocks over, myself.” This I think is probably what I would have been doing too. Walking your dog while history was being made three blocks away.
In 2005 you were just beginning to see the cult of personality building up around Vladimir. There were pictures of Putin were everywhere, but there were also still old communists rallying in the streets and drunken kids everywhere. When I took a subway out into the suburbs to visit artists, I found parishioners, old people, by the subway stop selling clothes and shoes and even underwear just to make their monthly rent.
To pick up the snow, instead of shovels or plows as we use them, people built snow shovels out of plywood and sticks that they would nail together. Then they would follow trucks that had these machines called Golden Hands that were basically scoops and they would shovel the snow in and the scoops would pick the snow up and push it up into the truck. It was the most complicated and seemingly inefficient system for picking up snow that you could imagine. But it seemed to copy the gestures of human beings gathering the snow into themselves. Somehow this seemed appropriate; an intense, highly intensive, laborious activity in which even the machines somehow copied the form of human beings.
For all the cerebral nature of these pieces of Dave’s, they're all intensely physical. As you can see, they're glued and sawed and cast and put together as highly physical objects. I think that they resonate not just with the ideas behind them or the sounds, if you've heard them, that come from them, but from their sheer physical presence. And the music that Doug created sometimes comes from the resonant frequencies of the objects themselves and sometimes from recordings of sounds of water in jars and rain cascading, but it is very physical as well. Doug has done a lot of things with objects in the world, like the sound of a truck changing gears, or a tree losing its leaves, or the sound of ice floes breaking up and coming together. He creates dense mosaics of sound that are highly immersive.
In fact, just about two weeks ago tomorrow, I guess, we were at Ursinus College where Doug was putting on iteration of his Music for Carpenters. The first time it had been Music for Ten Carpenters. Then about 15 years ago at The Boiler, it was Music for 100 Carpenters. Ursinus College is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, so they cleverly commissioned him to create Music for 150 Carpenters. One hundred and fifty people, most of whom were not carpenters, gathered together. We were equipped with sawhorses and bags of--I believe --six penny and 10 penny nails. Anyway, little nails, big nails. We had lunch boxes and inside the lunch boxes were apples. Doug created a score using timers for something like 10 or 20 groups of five or six people each, however the math worked out. We shook the bags of nails at different speeds at different moments. We eventually hammered the nails into the boards. A high point came when we all opened our lunchboxes and I believe at exactly 23 minutes and 20 seconds took a bite of our apples. After we were done with lunch, we put the cores in the lunchboxes and dropped them on the floor.
This all immediately sparked my interest in hammers again. I looked up the oldest hammer in the world. I'll get to that in a moment. The first hammers that they’ve found are actually hammer stones, round stones used for smashing bones or perhaps shaping smaller stones. They are about 3.3 million years old. Not much happened in the hammer technology field for about 3.3 million years, unless you count the murder of Abel by Cain, which may only have been about 6,000 years ago, but which I believe was hammer related. There was some tool that was used to smite Abel.
There is a very entertaining catalog that goes along with the 150 Carpenters show that among other things goes into the physics of the Hammer of Thor, which is called Mjolnir. It's a massive piece of iron. In the Norse myth it is created by two twin brothers. In the Marvel Universe, which is what really counts these days, it was forged in the center of a neutron star. If it was actually built out of the material from a neutron star, as pointed out by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, it would weigh the equivalent of 300 billion cows, making it so heavy and dense it would sink through the earth. But according to the Marvel historians, the hammer of Thor weighs 42 pounds, but it can only be wielded by the worthy. Usually Thor is the only one who can pick it up, although I guess others sometimes can too. The explanation is that it emits gravitons, which are theoretical particles that can actually alter the gravitational pull of an object, if need be.
The real physics of a hammer are pretty simple. I believe the energy of a hammer blow is equal to the mass times its velocity squared, over two. So, the heavier the hammer the harder you can hit, but really the trick is to swing it as hard as you possibly can because velocity goes up exponentially. So maybe Thor could really get by with a somewhat lighter hammer and still do the damage he needs to do.
As I was saying, the technology of hammers changed about 30,000 years ago when the first hammer head was attached to a shaft using a sinew of some sort, and it's been rock ‘n roll ever since. As people achieved more and more precision and accuracy with hammers they became more and more tied into culture, to the point where we are now awash hammer clichés: To “hit the nail on the head,” is to be precise; “To be hammered,” of course, is to be a under the weather a little bit. The Chinese peasant saying, “The nail that sticks up is hammered down,” means you should not create a stir. Also, “to a hammer everything is a nail.” Of course, we managed to make it an image of bigotry as well. The hammer is also called an Irish screwdriver.
The problem with the hammer head being tied to the shaft was that the hammer head would fly off of the shaft frequently. The expression “to fly off the handle” I never thought about before, comes from hammers too, as when you lose control, the hammer head comes off the shaft. But it’s not actually a folk saying. It was invented by a writer and politician and early hockey player named Thomas Haliburton who coined the term for his stories about Slick Sid in the Canadian Outback.
You don't need to listen to the next piece of trivia, but I can’t not say it, and once you hear it you won’t be able to unhear it. Haliburton is also responsible for another saying, “to get your ginger up.” This is a trigger warning. I had always assumed it had to do with the fact that people with red hair are supposed to have hot tempers, so to get your ginger up means you're acting like a mad redhead, and it’s actually used in early baseball stories. But it doesn't come from that. It's a horse-trading phrase. If you have a horse that you wish to sell or show that is a bit lazy, or under the weather, or just does not seem to be perky, you lift the tail insert a piece of raw ginger in the fundament of the horse and it will prance around and fetch a better price. It's apparently a problem that persists with horses. You can use other materials; onions, radishes, tobacco, even the classic live eel.
I told people they didn't have to listen. Apparently, it’s also popular in certain BDSM circles. And rumor has it, it was a form of capital punishment in Rome. Sorry, I'm done with that.
When I said that I was going to get back to the oldest hammer in the world, I wasn't talking about 3.3 million years old hammerstones. There is a hammer called the London Hammer that looks like a conventional 19th century miner's hammer, with a long flat head and wooden handle, but it's embedded in stone that is 400 million years old. It's totally encased in this stone. It was acquired by a creation museum to prove the existence of giants before the Flood. The London Hammer is something called an OOPArt, or Out Of Place Artifact. This is a real bona fide pseudoscience. There are lots of objects in the world that we can't readily explain or place in time. Probably the hammer was encased in old stone because fast dripping limestone somehow surrounded it that was itself quite aged. OOPArts have very catchy names like the 2,000 years old Baghdad Battery, which is a ceramic jar with a zinc lining. Speculation has it that it could be used for creating electric current that would actually create an electroplated object that nobody has ever seen. Probably it was just designed to protect scrolls from the elements. But it’s nicer think of it as early energy producing machine.
My favorite is the Sivatherium of Kish. The Sivatherium was an enormous precursor to the giraffe. It looked something like cross between a giraffe and an elk. It had two sets of horns. It would be about 10 feet high here, so a person will be about this big. There is a little statue that would go on the front of a chariot, of an animal with the double set of horns characteristic of the Sivatherium. It wouild have gone on an Egyptian chariot, so it's very nice to speculate. The last one probably died out somewhere around 10,000 years ago, but why not 5,000 years? Why couldn't you hook up chariots with one of these three-ton monsters and go to war?
Of course, as foreshadowed by my employment with Marty Solitrin, you can't really talk about carpenters without talking about the King of Carpenters, Jesus Christ. There are actually only two references to Jesus in his job as a carpenter. One is to his father, who was a carpenter and other to the fact that his father was a carpenter. But the word they use to describe his employment is Tekton, the Greek word meaning laborer. It's a somewhat imprecise word; he could be a carpenter, but he could be somebody who does any kind of labor of some precision. You see them listed-- Tektons listed--with other more generalized workers on various sites. In the Gospels there's no reference to Jesus's work as a carpenter, it's just accepted that that's probably what the job was. But there is some speculation that since this just means laborer, there was another form of skilled labor that the father could have been skilled at, and that is working as a stonemason. After all, there weren't that many trees around, and nobody knows whether Jesus Christ was a cabinet maker, or a handyman, or a deck builder. But if he was a stone mason, he would have had lots of work. In fact, Nazareth, his hometown, was very near a giant stone quarry, and just on the other side of that was the city of Sepphoris, which was being built by a local despot at the time. It was only three miles away, so it would have been quite natural for workers in Nazareth to commute past the quarry as they went to Sepphoris to work on its buildings. And Jesus does use stone mason type aphorisms such as, ”Don't be the first to cast a stone,” and “The stone that was rejected by the builders will become the cornerstone.” I remember that from my childhood because it was the motto of the Black P Stone Nation, a sophisticated gang in the South side of Chicago that, before it became affiliated with the Muslim movement, was fascinated with the old Testament.
There is one document that goes into some detail about Jesus's work as a carpenter, but it's apocryphal; the pseudo--I can't even pronounce the word--it’s the Pseudepigraphal Infancy Gospel of Thomas and it's the stories of Jesus Christ’s childhood. It reads more like the adventures of a young Greek demigod who is always getting into trouble. There's an image that actually is in the Qur'an in thes gospels of baby Jesus playing with toy clay birds and having them come to life and fly away. Mostly though, he got into trouble. He seemed like he was a bad kid to get on the wrong side of. The most benign thing he did was when his mother sent him to the well with a jar to collect water and he broke the jar, he carried the water back to her in his lap, in his linen skirt, and miraculously the water did not flow through the skirt. So, he told all his playmates to break their jars and do the same thing, which they did, but they could not do the same thing.
Once a little boy ran into him and bumped into him and little Jesus swore at him and immediately the little boy wilted into a corpse and died. This happened a couple times and the neighbors complained, and when the neighbors complained baby Jesus struck them blind. A friend of his fell off the roof of a house and was killed and Jesus was accused of pushing him off. So baby Jesus resurrected the boy so he could testify that Jesus was not been guilty of the crime. Eventually he got control of his superpowers and used them for good and not for evil.
Oh, but that does remind me of one story. His dad was building a bed for a rich man and they were using two boards for the bottom of the bed, but one was too short, and they didn't have any other wood. So young Jesus grabbed the short board and stretched it out until it fit. That was his first miracle besides the birds. His father said, “Oh, what a wonderful son I have!”
Don't worry. I have more paper
I’ve got more. You guys are not out of here yet. I'm getting close, though. My grandfather William was a carpenter. First, he had been a homesteader on the prairies of Kansas, but he wasn't much of a homesteader. He moved to Portland, Oregon and became a carpenter. Apparently, he wasn't much of a carpenter either, but he had nice tools. He left behind one of those old offset brace and bit drills and a good saw and good clamp. And, of course, a hammer.
My great grandfather did not seem to get along with my grandfather. When he died my mother asked her father what grandpa had died of and he said, “He ate too much pepper.” When my mother asked her father why he was such a harsh man he said he was nothing compared to his father. He pulled up his pants leg and he showed her all the scars on his legs that had been the result of falling into a fire. After he'd fallen into the fire his father had beaten him so he would never fall into a fire again. My grandfather became a house painter. Presumably, he knew how to lean his ladder against a building better than I did. At the age of 18 he was elected to be the youngest delegate to a convention of house painters, the House Painters Union, in New York City. They gave him money for a ticket to go from Portland all the way to New York, but he kept the money and he rode the rails, that means he rode in boxcars, all the way to New York so that he could use the money to go to the Metropolitan opera and hear Caruso sing.
You didn't put on your hat, Tim. These hats are like Chekhov’s Gun. These hats are called Pressmen’s Hats or Printers’ Hats. They were worn by every laborer in the 19th century who couldn't afford to wear a regular hat to a messy job because people didn't have showers or very good soap. So, getting your hair dirty was a pain and wearing a good hat would quickly wear out the hat--although bowler hats, interesting enough, were an early form of hard hats, used by miners and horsemen. If this paper hat looks familiar, it is because in the illustrations to the poem The Walrus and the Carpenter, the carpenter wears a paper hat, a somewhat larger version of this, because the papers back then were bigger. What would happen is that the workers, whether they worked in the presses or out in the field, would make a paper hat in the morning, put it on their head, wear it all day, throw it out at night and make a new hat in the morning. This was in the early days of mass-produced paper.
The hat was such an iconic form that when John Tenniel, the illustrator for all the Alice books, created the carpenter he gave him this hat, which is very precisely drawn. You can see that all the right folds are in the right places. There was a lot of speculation about why Lewis Carroll picked the walrus and the carpenter to savagely feed all the oysters. One theory was that the walrus represented Great Britain and the carpenter was the United States, pragmatically carving up the world. The other was that the Walrus was Buddha and that the Carpenter was Jesus Christ, representing different western and eastern philosophies that got them to the same place that they wanted to be.
But Martin Gardner points out and there's a letter from Carroll to Tenniel saying, you can make the partner to the walrus either a carpenter or a butterfly or a Baronet, a minor form of peerage. He didn't care. They all scanned. They were all three syllable words and they all fit. Whichever Tenniel wanted to draw, he could pick. So there really is no significance to the carpenter, and as Gardener says, only mad people try to find meaning in nonsense.
Now for your edification...
(Tim Reads Lewis Carrol)
"The sun was shining on the sea, Shining with all his might: He did his very best to make The billows smooth and bright — And this was odd, because it was The middle of the night. The moon was shining sulkily, Because she thought the sun Had got no business to be there After the day was done — "It's very rude of him," she said, "To come and spoil the fun." The sea was wet as wet could be, The sands were dry as dry. You could not see a cloud, because No cloud was in the sky: No birds were flying overhead — There were no birds to fly. The Walrus and the Carpenter Were walking close at hand; They wept like anything to see Such quantities of sand: If this were only cleared away,' They said, it would be grand!' If seven maids with seven mops Swept it for half a year, Do you suppose,' the Walrus said, That they could get it clear?' I doubt it,' said the Carpenter, And shed a bitter tear. O Oysters, come and walk with us!' The Walrus did beseech. A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk, Along the briny beach: We cannot do with more than four, To give a hand to each.' The eldest Oyster looked at him, But never a word he said: The eldest Oyster winked his eye, And shook his heavy head — Meaning to say he did not choose To leave the oyster-bed. But four young Oysters hurried up, All eager for the treat: Their coats were brushed, their faces washed, Their shoes were clean and neat — And this was odd, because, you know, They hadn't any feet. Four other Oysters followed them, And yet another four; And thick and fast they came at last, And more, and more, and more — All hopping through the frothy waves, And scrambling to the shore. The Walrus and the Carpenter Walked on a mile or so, And then they rested on a rock Conveniently low: And all the little Oysters stood And waited in a row. The time has come,' the Walrus said, To talk of many things: Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax — Of cabbages — and kings — And why the sea is boiling hot — And whether pigs have wings.' But wait a bit,' the Oysters cried, Before we have our chat; For some of us are out of breath, And all of us are fat!' No hurry!' said the Carpenter. They thanked him much for that. A loaf of bread,' the Walrus said, Is what we chiefly need: Pepper and vinegar besides Are very good indeed — Now if you're ready, Oysters dear, We can begin to feed.' But not on us!' the Oysters cried, Turning a little blue. After such kindness, that would be A dismal thing to do!' The night is fine,' the Walrus said. Do you admire the view? It was so kind of you to come! And you are very nice!' The Carpenter said nothing but Cut us another slice: I wish you were not quite so deaf — I've had to ask you twice!' It seems a shame,' the Walrus said, To play them such a trick, After we've brought them out so far, And made them trot so quick!' The Carpenter said nothing but The butter's spread too thick!' I weep for you,' the Walrus said: I deeply sympathize.' With sobs and tears he sorted out Those of the largest size, Holding his pocket-handkerchief Before his streaming eyes. O Oysters,' said the Carpenter, You've had a pleasant run! Shall we be trotting home again?' But answer came there none — And this was scarcely odd, because They'd eaten every one."