Sample Boards

Sample Boards August 8, 2022

You taught me to keep a chisel sharp.

You showed me on old pine, always the

sample board. “Don’t stop in mid-stroke

or the board will splinter.” “Once you start,

keep pushing through.” You’d pick up the

perfect shaving from the floor and rub it

between your fingers. Your other hand

would rub the grain revealed. How you’d

smile. You went somewhere unreachable.

When I read Plato years later, all  his squawk

about absolute forms, I knew that’s where you

went. You’d rub the clean cut and drop the

shaving. I loved to watch the feather of wood

float to the basement floor. Of course, keeping

things sharp and cut hasn’t always worked out.

You were 89 when you sent me your chisels.

You couldn’t steady them anymore. You

sharpened them before taping the box.

And I no longer know what it is we

build: the cut, each other, the grain

inside, or is it all for the light-

ness that floats between us?

A Question to Walk With: Tell the story of a time when someone in your family taught you something. Looking back, what else did you learn from this experience?

This is from my book of poems, The Way Under the Way.


AUG 26-28: Mercy By the Sea, 167 Neck Rd, Madison CT, weekend workshop, Reclaiming Our Humanity: Being Fierce and Tender in Our Call to Love, Fri 7-9:30PM EST Sat 9:30-5:30PM EST, Sun 9:30-1230PM, (web link) –


SEPT 16-18: Friday Night Reading and Weekend Retreat (Sat and Sun), Surviving Storms: Finding the Strength to Meet Adversity, The Sophia Institute, Charleston, SC, or call 843-720-8528, (web link) — IN PERSON & ONLINE

OCT 28-30: Harmony Hill Retreat Center, Surviving Storms: Finding the Strength to Meet Adversity, A Weekend Retreat, (web link) — IN PERSON

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