A treasure chest, still silver shine,
tools bright, though handles manicured
by leathered palms, patina years,
now pegged, clipped, hung in craftsman’s den;
from blade, spokeshave, to chisel grooved,
for furrow hew or plane and lathe,
this vice clamp locks the sacred space,
that horde where bored cannot be found,
the artisan’s trove, unmoved, set square.
Paraphernalia screwed down,
with awls and all to punch their weight
through hide where seek the buckle bite –
this is the workshop for the grate,
sandpaper gauge to be applied.
Here sons ply wood with hammered nails –
learn cursed shrieks where thumbs intervene –
learn feel for trees by timber yards,
a metric for their carpentry.
As lads run rings and harvest grain,
know knots, as buff what can be done,
they learn to work with, journeymen,
and not to fight relationship,
mortise and tenon joined as one.
Bemoan claimed signs of fading skills,
but while there’s canopy, concern,
that bole of life outgrows the stump,
those trees present salvation yet.
Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales, UK, from ministry in the Methodist Church due to Parkinson’s Disease, has had pieces curated by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies, including Poetry Potion. His blog is at https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com