By Geoff Budden
Summer school; after school; help from his patient mother;
but his stammering tongue still betrayed him in class.
School books ill-fit his hands; another bother.
Grade Ten was the last one he passed
But hammers, planes, plank; these he understood.
“Measure twice, cut once”; confidence and certainty.
He was articulate with saws, numerate with wood.
A man sought out for finish carpentry.
It wasn’t left to him to plan her funeral right,
to arrange for the priest, his sisters saw to that.
But as she lay dying he stayed up all one night
working fine-grained wood, blade-cut true, finish exact
Until he had made an urn to hold her close.
A womb to carry her ashes until all again were dust.