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photo of gnarled dead tree

Firewood

Ian Barth

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The bent oak by the tool shed is dying.
Now in late April, you can clearly see
the deadened wood at each extremity
encircled by the bright first leaves of spring.

One day soon my saw will bite
into the base of that tough old trunk;
careful notch cut out the front,
back cut, wedge, and then timber.
Give or take 100 years
of life and growth come crashing right

between two cherry ornamentals;
chainsaw precision.
The air a rich infusion:
burning oil and petrol smoke,
tangy sour of fresh cut oak,
crushed wild garlic and bluebells.

In this moment though, the late sun halos
the soft bright green against the bark’s brown grey,
The slightest of breezes whispering by,
it seems the chorus of rooks crescendos.

gnarled dead tree
Photo by Theophilos Papadopoulos

 

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