It is nearing the one year mark since I published Most Mornings. I find myself attentive today to how those poems from a year ago are now living in me. It’s one of the things that I love about poetry — it can evolve meaning and presence over time.
For this particular poem, Splitting Wood, I’m also attentive to the good work that men can do together, and need to do together over time. I’m headed to a men’s retreat this weekend, a version of which from a few years ago helped to create the content for Spitting Wood. It was such a beautiful thing to be with kind men in friendship and journey. It was the last line about “stacking friendship” that helped get the poem going in my imagination.
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They split the wood,
these five men working together.
One man, with long grayed beard and kind eyes,
operated the wood splitter.
Two men lifted large tree stumps,
to place just so under the chop of the modern axe.
Two men collected the split wood in wheelbarrow
to transport and stack neatly in covered shed.
This was not hard work, these five men splitting wood
that would warm many a winter morning.
This was good work, these five men helping each other,
stacking friendship, warmth, and memory.