For my father (and Ron Swanson) 

The Art of Wood Working

By Kelly Grace Thomas


We carve ourselves from wood.

Remember the roots that once connected us all.

Strong mahogany promise,

the richness of cherry in a Sunday afternoon. 

There are no regrets, only lessons.

Feel the weight of oak between your fingers.

Know that hands, like branches, were built for craft.

Built to reach out and make something grow.

Strength is counted through age rings.

Wear bark as armor, waiting to release

the thunder of stories that live inside the grain.

Lathe those words into something new.

Something beautiful enough

to give those old torn up roots purpose,

once again.

Creation is the strongest mark we can leave in our place.

We must carve, whittle and plane ourselves,

turn corners of tigerwood,

breath poetry into balsam fir.

Sit with nothing but you and a piece of the earth,

to show that life is a forest of discovering

that sands us down, smoothes the grain,

to make each shape our own.