Chopping Winter Wood

Last night

Brought a frost,

A coating of crystalline white

Drying the air, stiffening every leaf,

Crisping every damp thing,

Stilling all life

But for the sparrows.

Into this

Plooms my breath,

Brought momentarily

From the invisible;

I feel wonder at the breadth

And reach

Of the ether if my being.

I select a log,

Choosing one with flawless grain,

Straight lines, unknotted,

Placing it upright.

I lift the axe, aim

Half heft and half let it fall.

If it is true

My kindling spilts with a snap

Akin to the most beautiful synchronicity,

The grain parting

As if only a thought’s worth

Cleaved it separate

And clean.

I cut more,

And while I swing my axe

And watch my basket fill

With rough cut pieces,

I listen to the sparrows

And the stillness,

Enjoying my breath

Realising wintery all about me.

Bracken Brown


Swathe of
Bracken brown
Stitched through
With Bramble.

A burr enmeshed,
In camouflaged web
Lie limp,
Draped seasonal.

A winter tree,
Like a thistle head
Loose threads
And dry tendril.

Draws matter
In degraded death
To fall soil-ward
In depth autumnal.

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015



Gale grey
And hasty

Full of
And mischief,

Steal leaves
And flick

And tumbling,
Gimballed on gust

And inconsistency
Tremulous in the trees
Bare branch

And sway
And creak
And core wood

Straining in root-sap
Xylem tendons,
Dormant and slow

But rope strong,
Green strong

To the earth’s
Sound clag
And sucking

Cohesive force
To hold the winter

And disrobed,
And canvas blank
For next year’s newness.

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015