The Arc of Sharpened Steel
Yellow box logs are stacked,
harvest of the crosscut saw
rasping through fallen trees.
Teenager confronted by the wood heap,
challenging in the untested daylight.
You must wear protective shoes, son.
The shiny axe head, razor-edged,
complements the resting hickory,
streamlined in the palms.
Shoulders strain, he arches his back,
the wedge curves skyward.
Blade, galvanized, accelerates and drives into the grain,
retaliates through the wrists,
vibrates up his arms.
The flashing arc of sharpened steel,
tang of freshly-splintered wood,
of blitzed chips and kindling.
Waves of sound, timbre of the timber,
ring across the yard.
David Atkinson is a Sydney poet and retired lawyer. For more than 30 years he was the managing partner of the law firm which he co-founded. His poems have been published widely in Australia and the US. Favoured areas for poetic exploration include the human condition, nature and wildlife, and also the rural life of the past. His poetry collection ‘The Ablation of Time’, published last year, is available through Ginninderra Press, Adelaide.