morning poem, march 28, 2016

He was a young man, by then

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

Snow everywhere

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.

 

Copyright 2016

 

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