Essay on Wood

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Forum topic by socrbent posted 09-25-2019 02:20 PM 923 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1048 posts in 3611 days

09-25-2019 02:20 PM

Heard this on The Slow Down on NPR:

Essay on Wood
by James Richardson

At dawn when rowboats drum on the dock
and every door in the breathing house bumps softly
as if someone were leaving quietly, I wonder
if something in us is made of wood,
maybe not quite the heart, knocking softly,
or maybe not made of it, but made for its call.

Of all the elements, it is happiest in our houses.
It will sit with us, eat with us, lie down
and hold our books (themselves a rustling woods),
bearing our floors and roofs without weariness,
for unlike us it does not resent its faithfulness
or question

Its branchings have slowed the invisible feelings of light
into vortices smooth for our hands,
so that every fine-grained handle and page and beam
is a wood-word, a standing wave:
years that never pass, vastness never empty,
speed so great it cannot be told from peace.

”Essay on Wood” by James Richardson, from DURING by James Richardson, copyright © 2016 Copper Canyon Press. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press.

-- socrbent Ohio

2 replies so far

View oldwood's profile


162 posts in 2586 days

#1 posted 09-26-2019 01:40 AM


I want that read when they lower me down in the wooden (Poplar) box that I have made for the occasion.

View drsurfrat's profile


1240 posts in 528 days

#2 posted 12-22-2021 12:06 AM


I imagine that many of us see wood as more than just a material.

and hold our books (themselves a rustling woods),

I like this line. I made a book tree as a kind of visual pun. It has a trunk, branches, and the books have leaves....

-- Mike (near Boston) ... Laziness is the mother of invention, necessity is the mother of exhaustion - me

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