a treehouse life with water

Saturday, July 26, 2008

hanging an axe by Gary Snyder

Axe Handles
Gary Snyder

One afternoon the last week in April
Showing Kai how to throw a hatchet
One-half turn and it sticks in a stump.
He recalls the hatchet-head
Without a handle, in the shop
And go gets it, and wants it for his own.
A broken-off axe handle behind the door
Is long enough for a hatchet,
We cut it to length and take it
With the hatchet head
And working hatchet, to the wood block.
There I begin to shape the old handle
With the hatchet, and the phrase
First learned from Ezra Pound
Rings in my ears!
"When making an axe handle
the pattem is not far off."
And I say this to Kai
"Look: We'll shape the handle
By checking the handle
Of the axe we cut with-"
And he sees. And I hear it again:
It's in Lu Ji's Wen Fu, fourth century
A.D. "Essay on Literature"-in the
Preface: "In making the handle Of an axe
By cutting wood with an axe
The model is indeed near at hand.-
My teacher Shih-hsiang Chen
Translated that and taught it years ago
And I see: Pound was an axe,
Chen was an axe, I am an axe
And my son a handle, soon
To be shaping again, model
And tool, craft of culture,
How we go on.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Kindness Towards Strangers July 8-08

tiredness, tiredness and summer heat after the fourth of july quiet
surrounded by
canceled postage stamps
bloody bandages
Thank You cards
all the shit people throw away
with green cool-aid memories taken from a hymn of
who said goodbye while posing for snapshots after a few nights in the navy.
" What We've Got Here Is ... Failure To Communicate"
keep burning till it's right or nothing's left

like Aunt Rosemary playing
"All The Things You Are" on the upright piano
with feeling
there.... you have it!!!!!