Saturday, June 27, 2009

Follow Love, I Was A Timber Faller

I do have a friend named Bill. He is a truck driver on medium long haul and we speak regularly by phone while he is on the road. I call, or he does during my afternoon drive home from work. We both have blue tooth. Here is one true blessing of cell phones. Now that I have unlimited anytime minutes for a modest price and he has put me as one of his designated people, neither of us risk running overtime. He never really said this. Must be some other friend named Bill.

Follow Love

My friend Bill, he said
I could leave the horizon
Alone, let the sky
Be spacious, the sun
Shine high, and pay attention
To how the grass bends.

He said the heart moves
To the sway of the green fern,
To the way one small seed
Falls into fertile
Soil, how squirrel scolds when I
Come too close to her.

He said, follow love.

January 20, 2009 1:09 PM


I have a friend named Julie. Her blog, The Buffaloe Pen is filled with amazing poetry. She tells stories. There is no one better at that. I thought I would try one.

I Was A Timber Faller

Me. My daddy. Yes.
His daddy too worked the woods.
We were all fallers.

To be out in the far woods,
No roads but the ones we made,
To stand upright, work so hard,
To feed our kids and women,
Righteous and true clean and good.
I am God Fearing, and now,
They've stopped me, kept me from that,
From all I really wanted.

I can't find real work.
They don't help. I don't want what
They have anyway.
My woman hates me now.
I drink far too much, too much,
My kids going wrong,
The worker says it'll
Come out right, but when? Oh God,
It was good, me too.

I was good back then.

January 20, 2009 12:53 PM


  1. What do squirrels know?

    I think you did right fine with this story. I think there are volumes here in between the lines.

  2. I watched a squirrel once in my dogwood tree. It is not very high. The squirrel had a walnut and it was obviously uncomfortable, far too large for his cheek pouch. I stood under the tree and he was only a few feet above me, running back and forth. Then I backed off and he came down the trunk, dug a hole right at the base of the tree and buried his nut. After, he had to run across the street to get to the power pole highway.

    This is how many volunteer walnuts are planted I suppose. I felt really privileged to know where one of his stashes was.

  3. Squirrels are terribly forgetful like that; nature, or the nut trees anyway, have got one over on them there!

    'Follow love' is just wonderful, you have a knack of saying the simple things freshly... or making the difficult things simple. I like the story too.

  4. Lucy, you are very kind to say that. I wish I lived as simply as that. I keep trying.

    I think many teachers teach that the aim of any craft is to make the difficult things seem easy, the complex seem simple, the work seem effortless.

    Heh. When a duck looks all serene and together on the water, it is only that you don't notice the furious movement of little duck feet.

  5. I have a dear friend who could have written your poem Timber Faller. He lived in Oregon a number of years and then there was clean and sober and divorce and problems for children. I'm going to forward your blog to him. He, coincidentally, is going through a rough patch right now.
    Having good friends is next to breathing, isn't it.

  6. Yes, Techno, that story is a common one in Oregon. I was lucky, got into a side of the business that could translate. I started in lumber and wood mills as a drafter then designer. I shifted to paper near the end of the papermill boom, and from there I went into industrial food engineering where I am finishing my career. The support of the wood industry is as dead in Oregon as the timber industry is.

    Now I work in a cracker factory. I am not alone in being someone who can say that and really mean it. Saltines, Ritz Crackers, Wheat Thins, Chicken In A Biscuit, Oreos (the wafer is a biscuit, a sweet cracker), and Chips Ahoy! brands.

  7. I like these...I like whats in between the lines better than I like the lines sometimes.....there's the gift, being able to write between the lines, the other, to read there :)

  8. Michelle, you are right. Poetry isn't much if it isn't full in between the lines. I just hope my poetry is full, not full of it.

    It? Full of what?

    I won't say it. The single most common epithet said by people just before they die (caught on flight recorders and over intercoms, etc)

  9. Your friend Bill is a wise man! Follow love! Julie is an incredible storyteller, and I think she'll agree that you do yourself proud with your own! Your Timber Faller sounds like the story of the coal miners here.

  10. Thank you, Karen for saying so. It's not an easy craft for me.

  11. I know too many caught in that trap of underemployment, in the logging and pulp and paper industry. I grew up there, and some of us left. So many stayed. Those that don't drink smoke too much pot, and most do both, passing time as they wait for their lives to begin.

  12. Yes, Rachel, only in Oregon it got so bad no one has any illusions about it ever starting again.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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