That summer afternoon when he sat
In the woodshop, watching
Grandfather ripsaw the poplar board
The last piece for the patch for the roof.
But every memory he had of grandfather’s shop
Was a winter memory
He came there in holidays, back then
And the old man filled the potbellied stove
With the waste from the sawing
Cut off ends of two by fours,
Broken planks, fired red in the black oven.
Grandpa smoked Roi-Tans
And the clean-swept shop smelled warm
And felt fragrant.
For the young man, who was just a boy then,
The place was an escape from all fear
And an introduction to industry
The joy of utility, of lifting and pounding
Of figuring it out.
Winter mornings bright, winter evenings dark
The boy was anxious to help, to participate
To understand the tools and tricks of the trade
But on this summer afternoon
He could not wait to leave the old man
The young man’s car was outside
And his friends, he knew, would be waiting
On the river road
And the young man wished that the old man’s hands
Would move faster
And when he left the shop and stepped
Into summer brightness
He gave not a thought to what he had left behind.