Splitting Wood


This one’s for you dad

The air has teeth,
Little sharp needles
Stinging bare forearms
As I step out of the mud room
Breath a think cloud
Early autumn up here
Still bears the earmarks of winter.

Grab the axe from the shed
High up near the small
Wedge shaped head
“never by the bottom
Never let it swing while you walk”

Walk up to the pile of fresh logs
Several cords, the smell of turpentine
Sharp and acid.

It’s simple really
Rest the axe on your shoulder
One hand manhandle a log
Up onto the old stump
Legs braced shoulder length apart
Swing the haft up, let your hands come together
On the downswing
“let the head do the work”
Chock, what was one becomes two.

The rhythm is the thing
Your breath comes in slow and even
Don’t even feel it after a while
There’s just the play of muscle
You could be steam powered
Vapor rising from arms and back
Arms pistons, the tin woodsman
Before the rust settled in.

One becomes two,
Two becomes four, into the barrow
Then one again
The splitting echoing rifle shot
Through the silence
Simple, no questions
Just purpose, and good, clean sweat.

One could say it was
Almost a meditation
Yet it’s more pure than that
Even when you’re all done,
There’s no more clutter
Just row on row of neatly stacked wood.
Everything right and in its place
And all will be warm now.

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4 Responses to “Splitting Wood”

  1. no greater gift
    shiny eyes

  2. alfred lil riblet jefferson Says:

    truly a meditation
    like the one shared with your chum after the festival
    like ensemble music performance
    intense, intimate, momentarily excluding all else save the act of living
    you deserve every possible opportunity for more
    twist the tube and even simple ingredients offer up infinite possibility
    like blues

  3. Awesome tribute, indeed. I remember teaching my Sons to chop wood. Brings back memories. TY for sharing. 👀 ♥ * ͜ * ♥ 👀

  4. what mr forfun said

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