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Unpublished Ray Bradbury poem, more estate items up for auction

An estate auction offers a glimpse into Ray Bradbury's life and belongings, which range from original artwork for "The Illustrated Man" to a gardening tool used by George Bernard Shaw.

Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury in 1975.Alan Light

Author Ray Bradbury, known for classics like "Fahrenheit 451" and "The Illustrated Man," passed away in 2012. A portion of his estate is now up for auction through Nate D. Sanders, opening up a fascinating window into the life of the famed writer. Many of the lots are pieces of art owned by Bradbury, but one unusual set really stands out. Up for auction is a spade accompanied by an unpublished poem written by the science fiction author.

The poem is interesting because it doesn't delve into the subjects for which Bradbury is best known. There are no science fiction explorations or dystopian societies here. It's a poem about a spade. For the non-gardeners, a spade is like a shovel, but with a flat edge instead of a pointed one. The particular spade that inspired Bradbury was owned by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw.

Bradbury looked up to Shaw, and seems to have been moved to compose the poem when he became the owner of the spade. Shaw used the spade to plant a mulberry tree in 1936.

An excerpt from the long poem is included on the auction site. Here is a small tidbit: "Hit and run, smash and grab. / I hold the dear spade in my hands, / Its vibrant lightnings strike and move along my arms, / The ghost of Shaw climbs up through me." Bidding for the spade and poem together is currently at $5,000, with one bid entered.

The poem and spade are one small part of a much larger auction of more than 450 pieces up for bid from Bradbury's estate. Among the lots are a collection of lithographs of Greek mythological figures, original artwork for "The Illustrated Man," a painting of a dragon engaged in battle, a Mickey Mouse animation cel, German tax documents and a variety of award statuettes.

Many of the lots start at $500. For that price, you can get in on the action and you may even be able to walk away with a chess board, coin collection or magic trick owned by Bradbury. The auction ends on September 25. This is a rare opportunity. There won't be many chances in life to buy Ray Bradbury's personal Halloween decor.

This spade inspired a Bradbury poem. Nate D. Sanders