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Remember stories you read when a boy
The shipwrecked sailor gaining safety by
His knife, treetrunk, and lianas for now
You must escape, or perish saying no. Philip Larkin, Ultimatum
...paring the apple
With a human stillness.
The cool blade
Severs between coolness, apple-rind
Compelling a recognition. Charles Tomlinson, Paring the Apple
Only man thinning out his kind
sounds through the Sabbath noon, the blind
swipe of the pruner and his knife
busy about the tree of life Robert Lowell, Waking Early Sunday Morning
Having a wheel and four legs of its own
Has never availed the cumbersome grindstone
To get it anywhere that I can see. Robert Frost, The Grindstone
There was no man for peril durst him touch.
A Sheffield whittle bare he in his hose. Geoffrey Chaucer, The Reeve's Tale from The Canterbury Tales
I was in the UK in the summer. I spent some time in Sheffield in the north of England. Sheffield was famous as a city of cutlery and steel factories. It was one of the main producers of knives in the world. Chaucer mentioned a Sheffield knife in the Canterbury Tales, written in the 14th century. Stainless steel was invented there. The 1997 British comedy movie The Full Monty was set in Sheffield against the background of rising unemployment as many of the jobs in the steel industry disappeared.
When I was in Sheffield I visited the workshop of Trevor A