The Carpenter

The carpenter works from dawn until dusk

Rising with the golden light,

he carves until the air is cedar, mahogany, Brazilian walnut and pine

Each breathe is thick with the smell of resin

The carpenter uses these tiny specs of magic to reflect light all around him

At the centre of his workshop he keeps a birdcage

The carpenter has a pet sparrow

At night he lets the sparrow out to dance with its lover the moon

When it returns, the sparrow always brings a golden marble sun

The carpenter has 13 jars of golden marbles

He drinks amber whisky mixed with the sawdust magic specs of air

By now the carpenter is part tree

His roots go as deep as his leather work boots

He gets his energy from the morning chill

He lives near a forest

Before going to sleep he looks out of his window and recites prayers to the trees

He has named each one of them after a different family member, friend and God, he is waiting to put his faith in the last one standing

On a good day the carpenter takes walks through the tree trunk cathedral that has assembled itself around his home

This monk of wood and bone, this tree-man, he feels like the tallest hill

2 inches away from being a mountain

But the carpenter knows his soul is still growing.

These are the good days,

When he can work to the music of birds, carving living things from the dead

Like a fisherman he pulls his labour out of the ocean of dust

Breathes into it the breathe of life given to craftsmen

and sets it on a table like a new born baby

At night he thanks every tree for his calloused hands.

The carpenter wonders if they can hear him


We all wanted to be the carpenter

All wanted to pull life out of the dead things every morning

So we went searching

We poets and writers

we went searching for a voice sharp enough to cut through all thought

And on the good days we pulled from a dictionary of diction the perfect expressions of our innermost souls

On the good days we didn’t wait for our gods to fall we simply walked with them

Accepting their existence rather than cutting them down

Those were the good days and the best days when we could lift our prayers up like open hands to a father

But we all had our bad days

The days when open hands became clenched fists shaking in defiance

I want to hear you father

The days we turned our eloquence into hatchets and knives so we could cut down, cut out the roots of our faith

I want to hear you father

The days when we tore apart every word because it was getting hard to breathe with all the deforestation

Can you hear me father?

And sometimes our gods answered

And sometimes they spoke in the silence

We monks of ink and bone shards waiting to explode

Sometimes the silence was the only thing we could comprehend

We soldiers of the spoken word

Aimed our questions like rifles

Spoke our magazines empty

Punctuated our bullets into God’s chest

Because we knew he could take it

And when the wars were done

We raised our cracked lips up to every bullet hole

Kissed them healed

Wrote our words like bandages

For every injury we had a simile to rebuild it again

We were carpenters of our image of God

Stripping back everything until we were left with his face

We are still carving.


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