With spokeshave, gouge and whittling tools,
but spokeshave most of all,
my father eased his shapes from blocks of wood,
and if I asked, he'd say the forms were - mostly -
there, already lodged within the grain.
He only had to feel his way -
the grain would guide him in.
He made it sound like they'd been trapped,
imprisoned by the tree.
Mostly what he made were golf club heads,
but now and then a porpoise or a wren,
a chicken or a rat would see the light of day.
I found this magical, and often after a new birth
would go in search of further denizens of wood.
And I would find them too! Snakes by the bucket load,
but lions, ferocious bulls, giraffes and elephants as well.
In a plank my granddad bought
I found a whole menagerie
and made up tales about them all,
explaining how they'd come to be
encased in seven feet of polished wood.
He placed it high above the bench in the top shed
and left it there for months to be
my Lascaux, Altamira and La Marche.
I never did find golf club heads.
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