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When old carpenters would talk of buildings
out of plumb or out of square, they always
said they were sigodlin, as though anti-
sigodlin meant upright and square, at proper
angles as a structure should be, true to
spirit level, plumbline, erect and sure
from the very center of the earth, firm
and joined solid, orthogonal and right,
no sloping or queasy joints, no slouching
rafters and sills. Those men made as they were:
the heavy joists and studs yoked perfectly,
and showing the dimensions themselves, each
mated pair of timbers to embody
and enact the crossing of space in its
real extensions, the vertical to be
the virtual pith of gravity, horizontal
aligned with the surface of the planet at
it local tangent. And what they fitted
and nailed or mortised into place, downright
and upstanding, straight up and down and flat
as water, established the coordinates
forever of their place in creation’s
fabric, in a word learned perhaps from
masons who heard it in masonic rites
drawn from ancient rosicrucians who
had the term from the Greek mysteries’
love of geometry’s power to say,
while everything in the real may lean just
the slightest bit sigodlin or oblique,
the power whose center is everywhere

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