On Beautiful Useless Things

Margarete Ostheimer  ostheimer.de

Margarete Ostheimer    ostheimer.de

The old wood`carver
gouges his carbon blade
deep into the birch block
Its shaving`keen edge takes
out a wedge as of an orange
then he turns the block over
in his thick calloused fingers
repeats his motion precisely
writing his words in wood
without any line or mark
to tell him where to cut
tell him what to leave

So he works his magic
lost in his concentration
as I watch his blade shave
here an edge there a curve
the story he is telling getting
shorter with his every stroke
the pile of shavings growing
taller down by his old boots
til I can hear him humming
the deep growl of the wolf
I can see slowly emerging
from the carver’s hand

“The sewing cushion holding the colorful threads
Suggests a painter’s palette. So Vermeer
Offers a silent tribute to another artist
Who’s increasing the number of beautiful
Useless things available in a world
That would be darker and smaller without them.” ~ Carl Dennis


About Peter Notehelfer

I'm a retired people person who now finds the time to watch the little details of the world without worrying about being watched by anyone . . . I live on an Island north of Seattle with my wife named Ellen, a yellow dog named McGee, a yellow cat named Gatzby, and four fine chickens . . . I read fiction, bake bread, smoke salmon, and fish whenever the weather allows . . . Oh, and yes, I try to write a poem every day simply to avoid senility!
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6 Responses to On Beautiful Useless Things

  1. “the story he is telling getting / shorter with his every stroke” I long to write the way he carves.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cheryl Ruffing says:

    Sounds like the old wood carver spends much of his life in Kairos, rather than Chronos, which is as it should be.

    Liked by 1 person

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