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If You Understand Anything - Keck

Michael L. Keck

If You Understand Anything



If you understand anything at all about working up wood

you can tell right off,

when the maul strikes the block,

if it will work.

Work meaning that it splits into next winter.

There can be a crack that runs sharp along the edges

signaling that a sweet spot has been found inside of the wood,

a place where time and grain can conspire to fly apart from one another.


There can also be a thunk,

the only place for such a word,

telling us that the wood is soft, wet, or almost no good.

Those of us who enjoy such work,

place these other pieces off to the side

in a pile meant for wedges, a chainsaw, or a friend named Ken,

who says that “ this is honest work”,

looking back on it at the end of the day,

piled like someone who understands