Hammer and Nail

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 12:38 -- T.Cohen

I used to think
    that all wood was still a tree,
alive and strong
    branches supple and willing to support
leaves, fruit,
two little girls full of dreams.
Within the cracks
in the walls
      lay stories
  but stories of strength and valor
and the smallest branch a magic wand
      for back up.

I used to think
    that all wood was still a tree,
that even when its branches
    were hacked away
                  to feed fires,
it was only to lie fallow
    to come back stronger than before.
A polished table,
    I thought,
          surely,
still held a tree somewhere inside
even if it's been
          chopped
                  down
          carved
                polished
          dried.

And a person, too
                            I thought
must surely still be a tree
    after the fruitless winter months
grow again
          taller
  stronger
          freely
Our strength must be in our roots
              from which we
                                    may never move
                                                              on
and when we grow old,
                once again
                                  will children come
                                                        to play
  for nothing, I thought,
                      no time
                              no space
                        no fire
                                no flood
                          no nail
          could kill the tree within.

But now I see the hammer and the nail
                                for beneath the nail
                          we are wood,
not growing stronger
                                any longer
for our own strength is the hammer
                          and love, and roots
                                                        the nail
and a nail doesn't hold
                              brittle wood together,
no;
                              for every blow splinters
and love sharpens every blow.

And trees don't grow from sawdust
                      or from tables in a junkyard pile
with the legs cut off
      and the polish shining
uneven, and
      a little too bright in the
  hammering
sunlight.

This poem is about: 
Me
My family

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