Thursday, November 22, 2012



Most every day in the fall, and the same in winter and muddy spring
I tramp our woodlot path with canvas satchels and bring home
From my hike two full satchels filled with new cut firewood

We have plenty of dry firewood back at home
In fact 22 cords at last count
Stacked around the dooryard and in the big woodshed

It isn't more wood we need — it's taking the hike, often twice a day
And tending to the day, fetching fuel to keep a house warm
Which makes one know how one keeps a house warm, one's self warm

The woods are down with leaves

It takes pulling to climb the hills
The satchels are dirty and old

A few days ago I dropped a dead and very sound white ash tree

Hurricane Sandy had taken down half the tree, and I finished the job
Bucked and split on site, on a side hill, my companion and I tossed

The split logs down the hill twice and stacked the wood by our path

Each day as we pass we bring our satchels and fill up —
This work makes me think of dozens of other things instead of wood

While holding wood I think of a mother, a sister gone, what a son is doing

How ill friends are faring, children dying in Gaza
When will it snow?

I think of those others who have been very troubling, and it's increasing

Twenty years ago there were none of these same troubles
Twenty, thirty, forty years ago there was this path

 [ BA ]



awyn said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Bob & Susan.
For all your posts this year and last, which have introduced me to poets I'd not otherwise have come upon, for riveting articles you've passed on, for stunning photos, for those walks in the woods (albeit vicariously) -- Thanks!

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...

And, thank you, Annie, for always being there! It takes two to tango and the Birdhouse is all about the eventual tango: bird song is heard.
This idea: if a tree falls down in the woods is there a sound without man around?. . .I've had trees tell me, personally, is a running joke in the forest. The trees hold their collective breaths when mankind shows up. Count ourselves lucky birds still sing, and to us, and themselves, and to each other, after what we've introduced or left for the planet, animals, birds to deal with.

I'm about to head out for a hike in the woodlot before 9AM for two satchels of firewood. It's 20 degrees. Mother earth says so. Susan has already baked two pies for the holiday: pumpkin and apple. The aroma has now reached into every nook and cranny of the old house.

Old houses know yum
all's well, Bob

Anonymous said...

Thanks be for it all, a day late, but every day, really. love to you and Susan. and for your poem here. ~ Donna

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...

Hi, Donna,
right back at you with a thanksgiving hug on something that is called 'black Friday', and we don't get it — maybe the last true blue autumnal warm day of the season before the bottom falls out and we'll be a million miles high and away from any store or shopping. The sun is out!

all's well, Bob