The Saturday poem: The Wedge

A new work by Patrick Deeley

Patrick Deeley. Photograph: Judy Carroll Deeley/Dedalus Press

Patrick Deeley. Photograph: Judy Carroll Deeley/Dedalus Press

 

Mid-morning winter wood, he turned from felling a tree,
threw the 5lbs steel wedge and the sledge
aside, set a fire of stooked twiglets and dry tufts of moss
in a clearing, boiled a kettle and wet the tea.
The sledge has lost its handle; the thick end of the wedge,
dull despite its glint, still wears the blows
he sweated over at Ballydoogan, Coole Park and Myode,
as snaggle-teeth. Its thin end’s a jagged line –
plain dint of splitting. But though I dream there’s a door
somewhere that shows his way with wood,
or a floor that goes floating back half a century and more
to carpenter heaven, even see him at a bench within,
sawing timber with the sawdust flying, here,
this side of the sever, the wedge leaves me none the wiser.

Patrick Deeley’s most recent publications are The Hurley Maker’s Son, a memoir, and Groundswell: New and Selected Poems (Dedalus Press)