Michael O'Donovan

Applewood - Poem by Michael O'Donovan

Spinning on a lathe
A block
Of rough-hewn applewood
Cut from near the root
Of a diseased old tree
That lately yielded
Only misshapen cankerous fruit,
Inedible, useless.

The well-honed gouge
Stripped the bark and
The soft sap-wood beneath.
It clicked and juddered
On split knots - the last remains
Of fine old branches
That once had sprouted
Pink and white apple-blossom and
Shiny red fruit
Fit to tempt
Any Eve in any Eden.

The useless cast aside
In mounting piles of wood-dust
The singing chisel
Cut the solid wood.
Shavings shot back over shoulders
In steady streamers
With the sweet smell of apples.
The cob-webbed corners of the work-shop
Smelled like a cider-mill
Re-incarnating and breathing life into
Memories long since faded
Of children picnicking under its shade
Or apple-picking for sport
On Halloween.

I saw you,
My grown-up sons,
My beautiful daughters,
Children again, happy, laughing,
As I finger now
The smooth polished wood
Of my applewood bowl
And I remember you.

Do you remember me?

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, August 18, 2005

Poem Edited: Wednesday, May 19, 2010

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