Monday 7 May 2018

mr beech - a school memory


Our woodwork teacher mr beech (i kid you not)
reserved for year two
as i approached thirteen
the dovetail joint
pièce de résistance
the haunched mortise and tenon

he strode –
if strode’s the word
for a man scarcely
five foot tall –
between the work-benches
with their worn surfaces
and heavy vices
a plank in hand
a plank
he slapped into his right palm
to tell us
he meant business

(no canes for him
a plank
did the job
just splendid)

and checked our drawings
no joint could be essayed
without his approval

a lifetime later
i translate poetry
in search of a poet
that calls for
the haunched mortise and tenon

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