Thursday, 3 October 2013

Poem: Learning


Uncle Joe taught me how to resurrect the fallen
Olive logs and forge of them loveless furniture

As I trusted no mask to protect from specks
Sawdust would collect thick on my chest

I used to flick flecks across the workshop
With hardened fingers which checked for knots

Customers came to watch us break our backs
Something in the method, the authenticity

Compelled to smell the abrasive blades’ sweat
And taste the sweet fruits of tiresome grafting

Joe told me not to contest the strange interest
Taken by mere mortals in making things

Sure, the awe-filled stares grated as I’d grind
Another drawer, grooving with an awl till smooth

But I bit my lip, let bitter notions settle
And conquered my seething by reading stories

Once rooted deeply in the unruined ground
Now bound but swimming with wit and wisdom

I’d take my new-found love to the temple steps
And admire the scholars’ tongues sharing songs

Joe warned against involvement with such men
Convinced they had no useful words to spread

Instead he said that we should cut some oak
And shape it into shelves kept for ourselves

He bought me books which offered other thoughts
The stronger ones I engraved onto my throat

To be given air once I had fully carved
My final coffin and watched it sink

Author's Notes: 'Learning' forms part of an acclaimed poetry collection which re-imagines the life of Jesus into present day America.  I am currently in the process adapting the collection to create a piece of poetic prose.  This will become the next instalment in my series of short fictions, Living Legends.  The provisional date for the release of 'Living Legends: Jesus Christ' on Amazon Kindle is 11th December 2013.

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