The Chisel

I stood and watched my dad, entranced,

as he chiselled a hole into a table's leg.

The chisel was a wand in this strong man’s hand,

As he strove to make that table stand.


His hammer met the chisel’s head, precisely,

Time after time, and time after time again,

carving and slicing into the wood’s bright grain.

Until he brusquely brushed the shavings away,

Like a conjuror performing his trade mark trick,

as a perfect mortise was revealed below,

 before a hand-sawed tenon was glued,

and slotted in, hard tight.


               I looked on, amazed,

dumbfounded, at what my dad could do

with two bits of wood, and a smidgen of glue.







◄ A Golf Lesson

The Journeyman Joiner ►


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John Botterill

Fri 2nd Dec 2022 18:35

Thanks for the likes Helene and Leon 😀

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John Botterill

Thu 1st Dec 2022 22:39

You are spot on, as ever, Stephen. A bit of Digging went into the thought processes as you correctly surmised! 😎👍

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Stephen Gospage

Thu 1st Dec 2022 21:39

A touch of Seamus Heaney here, John. A lovely poem of fond memory.

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John Botterill

Thu 1st Dec 2022 18:23

I am so pleased to have inspired new poetry and revisit action of finished poems, Graham and Rose. 'The Chisel' came out of nowhere, really, but given your fabulous responses I'm glad it did.
Is working with wood, a bit like working with words? Just a thought...
Thanks so much both of you 😎

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Graham Sherwood

Thu 1st Dec 2022 16:08

John, you have inspired me to write a piece similar. I hope you don't mind me pinching the essence of your idea. As you know, poems will out!

<Deleted User> (9882)

Thu 1st Dec 2022 14:48

Re Dads/ wood/ tools etc you have prompted me to dig up two old poems of mine along the same lines

one I did for my Father-' Dads d-i-y sanctuary ' in which he repaired a lot of given up hope with things-reusing old wood

and amazingly made two fairly huge rocking horses for the Grandkids made out of scaffolding planks-photos of which to follow asap

and the other poem-' offcuts ' which also has to do with the subject of waste that Keith mentioned in my earlier poem

The offcuts were always placed outside the local timber merchants for anyone to take and use hopefully for making something out of and not just as firewood

so if I find these two old poetry efforts I shall dedicate them both to you for the inadvertent prompting 👍

Rose 💋

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John Botterill

Thu 1st Dec 2022 13:47

I love the fact that so many poets have responded positively to this piece. I was going to include a piece about how pathetic I was at woodwork, ( unlike Uilleam!) but, I thought, no, this poem is about my dad. Must admit to being a bit teary as I wrote it! 😂
Thanks so much Uilleam, Graham, Holden, Stephen and Rose for the likes and comments. 😃👍

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Uilleam Ó Ceallaigh

Thu 1st Dec 2022 09:06

Oh and the smell of fish glue, and the time our teacher cut his hand open showing us how to sharpen a wood chisel-Tee-heee!

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Uilleam Ó Ceallaigh

Thu 1st Dec 2022 09:00

I used to love woodwork classes at school.
I made a ship, a teapot stand, and a food tray for which my mum embroidered a lovely cloth.
Our visits to antique shops involve my rescuing old wood-working tools such as planes, which now lurk under the stairs-unsharpened and unused.
But I still take pride in knowing the difference between a mortice and tenon, and a half-lap joint!

Holden Moncrieff

Thu 1st Dec 2022 05:34

A really meaningful, cleverly written poem, John! 😎

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Graham Sherwood

Wed 30th Nov 2022 21:46

Love it. Craftsmen are fascinating! And old tools (I have many of my father's) are the best heirlooms!

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