Monday, November 26, 2012

Such Merry Toil - A Poem For My Father

Since my Dad started getting disability, he's taken up wood working as a hobby.  He crafted a fantastic end table for me, and did up a couple of doll cabinets to house my niece's doll clothes, shoes, and other miniature accessories.  He's getting more and more into the craft, to keep himself busy and to satisfy that artistic side of him that he gave me and my grandfather gave him.  Having a job and raising four boys put a damper on that, but it never really dies.  I'm glad to see him expressing it, and I thought I'd commemorate that renewal with this poem.  

Such Merry Toil
By Doug Wheaton

His hands rough-hewn, like an old oak tree,
Or the rusted bolts on an old tractor,
On a farm that once thrived but
Has since gone on to decrepitude.

He toils merrily over lathe and wood,
Sanding and shaping and tirelessly carving
In an ancient workshop full of tools
Of a bygone era, the sawdust on the floor
The only sign of its passing.

“Why work like this, Father?” I ask,
Oblivious to the love of craft that keeps a man
Such as he locked away in an old shop that has
Faded with the passage of time.

His gaze rises, his lathe ceases to spin.
He meets my eyes, and gives me a grin.
“Time hasn’t stopped for me, son,” he says.
“I’m not about to give in to it.”

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