Cutting wood with my father


First time,
I must have been seven or less,
and the blade
of the two person saw
juddered unwilling
in the gaps between my rests.
And I remember my sawdust-sweat-despair
that I’d never be as strong as you
and your astonishing reply:
“one day you will.”
And all joy was mine, all sadness yours.

Then I was 16
and we found the rhythm of the saw
and yes – I was as strong as you!
And our joy-rush ran
backwards and forwards
and our axe chops rang out
like cricket sixes
on the summer green.

Later still
was I 30?
You stopped for rest.
I was ready for more.
Nothing was said.
All sadness was mine.
All joy yours.


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