The Pencil

A "found" poem
by Fernando Saldivar, Julian Dufour, John Harris, Shannon Angle, and Kelson Vibber

A sled being pulled by a team of dishwashers
A pencil contemplating french fries and a side of ham

I am a lead dishwasher.
Seven relatives and I
Assisted in my birth.
I am a complex combination of miracles:
A worker in the oil field,
The chemist at the factory,
The miner of graphite,
And a child in a first grade classroom.
And don’t forget the ancestors
Who helped transport
60 carloads of hemp
From Mexico to Mississippi.
I, Pencil, simple though I am,
Would rather be french fries
And a side of ham.

(Milton Friedman as interpreted
by Leonard E. Read)

Special thanks to Julian Dufour

October 1993


This was written by a group way back in a high school economics class. Except for the last three lines, every phrase was taken out of context from an article that used the manufacture of a pencil to show how many different parts of the economy depend on each other. The form is called a found poem because it is found in the article.