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The Woodworker


The fine soft white wood comes away clean, 
rolls into scented coils sweet with resin 
as the wide drawknife is pulled 
fine and strong up the timber's length.
This is a man of another time in this time; 
a freckled cloth cap, a waistcoat,
open and with fastenings that shine, 
leaning into his work, and as his fine thin arms
flex with effort, he sees saplings 
bow and twirl and hears the wind flick at the 
pale green leaves, 
and then he leans in again, 
arms at full stretch, and his fingers 
are drawn to the wood's slickness 
and his cap dips over a bearded face.
Serge trousers, stout leather boots, 
the workings and things of the land, and 
he sets off a rhythm 
in himself and in nature's gift, 
so that each stroke is a caress
and the sigh he hears is his own 
and he does not mind that he is alone and laughing

2 thoughts to “The Woodworker”

  1. Second Mark’s comments, John. Beautifully painted, the sound and smell of the wood. My dad worked as a carpenter for many years; he would have loved it! Reminded me of how pleasurable it is to hold a fine tool planning wood, loved the curls of the shavings.

  2. powerful, those opening 3 lines. can smell that fresh timber, and feel the slice of the knife. The honest working man lovingly portrayed. Hardy used to do this kind of thing in his novels.The rhythm’s good, John, and the visuals.

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