Wednesday, 16 November 2011

A Poem.

Tongue and Groove, by Dave Smith.

Tongue and Groove
Forms a lock. But how does it begin in this world? The twig
falls, snaring another, and another, a storm’s blackness
gathers and sends its will scudding down and over the quiet
niches of the forest, where a nest of barky remnants
holds, waiting it seems, and is then lifted, swirled away.

Like the afterlife. We never see where they land or in what shape.
We mimic what we can. We remember. We say this way.
The shadow man’s fingers feel the groove. Fits to it
a piece of firm, now barkless wood, slender and pliant,
then into it, then deeper, snugly, and carries it with him a while.
When the wall stands, ugly and crude, needing its wind-cover,
the hand, after the night with love, fashions plank and rib,
wets for entry, slides, sees this cannot be easily parted.
Long years hold up the rich color, the vein-mapping.
Some like to sand hard, thinking to get back the early patina.
My wife from the first wanted to paint it brilliant cloud white.
Such an old look, such dour faces. At last I gave in.
The paper, medium rough, slid like a small hill of gravel
loosing the smell of pine sap. I could see the shadow
felling the tree, making the rib, the lock, nailing up forever
what would soon be lost in the sailing white, layered like mist
you cannot see through. The little nail holes puttied-in,
like eyes, slab after slab shoulder to shoulder, knots where
limbs grew, room like a snow-crypt. We live here.
Still, I know stains will rise some day, the lock split apart.


  1. Oooooo! There so much to love about this poem. Its intricate layers...
    scudding what a great word! a nest of barky remnants fantastic image... The shadow man's fingers feel the groove Oh my, indeed! I'm blushing now as I read onward...

    vein-mapping and snow-crypt (as I am fond of 'wintry' images in my own poetry.) The last line is a killer: Still, I know stains will rise some day, the lock split apart!

    gorgeous, gorgeous, sigh ....


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