The Zen of Turning Wood

by Carolin Messier

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The solidity of my mother, tree
warm in my hand as a babe
spinning, taking shape
from its unnatural geometry
as my meditations
see nothing, hear nothing, know nothing
but it, and this moment
as I fashion with grown-up tools
a plaything for my inner child of six,
before I knew that adults lied
and did bad things
before I knew that children died.

Not escape, but pure presence
as my eyes follow the grain
that once was rooted
that marks the seasons
of sun-spurred growth
and frozen dormancy
that marks the years, turning
as the blade scrapes away
the splinters and bark,
the weathered roughness
and layers of age
to reveal a polished balance
of lightness, strength, and whimsy.