Log Cabin Chronicles

9 poems by L. E. Hogan

Wood Sculpture

WHAT FELLED YOU is important
in some way. Not the thud
of the fall that broke up
your tender limbs. But the sound
of your longing for me
to find fissures and gouge
around in search of stronger
places in sturdy parts.
Something could be made out
of all this bulk. Prune off
fragile boughs, remove the bark,
soften the smooth of such pale
sub-skin that has hidden through
a thousand gales, and upright
until this last one. It is
not the last. But lie still
while I rub on tung oil, still
and I'll tatoo mine next
to old initials in deep
grain and story rings, rings
layer by layer smoothed
and oiled, now freshly marked
in bold, blonde letters surrounded
by a simple jackknifed heart.


I STILL hear sounds
in quiet thoughts

like treadles clacking
at the base of mother's loom,

just as when I sat still
and though small

watched the whoosh
from shuttle sliding

across the warp; color
bumping up against color

and changing with each clack,
changing summer into fall.

In October the abundant
field comes undone;

no longer wild yellow from butter
cups or golden rod. There are only gray

and rust threads not quite holding
together in wind. Very fine snow

will gather heaviness and crack
the straw eventually. Thaw water

moves down with its bits
of passing years. Blue Jays snap

at the feeder and I remember
the way the warp was fed through

the loom's harness where the lengths
of fiber hung waiting for a unity

her hair woven with my blonde, her
patterns, our rhythms. I still tap my foot.


SOME of the fence has rotted
but still holds small creatures, mice
and wrens, though not my boy's weight, nor
his father's. Winter weighed
snow on our old rails again
and again until they split.
Before long the posts must come
down. The goat herd is moving
to where the tender shoots grow.
One ram follows my hemline
as it breezes through the breaking
gate, in, out; watches, then returns
to graze in festive pasture.

At dark we cannot see
the herd, only hear their bells
as clang breaks through the chilled air.
We sit in the simmer
over supper figuring
the way to make the repair.
The kitchen light hums across
our silver and he tells me
these meals make him strong. He feeds
the dogs table scraps. They lie
away from the issue. Bells
fill the silence between lines.

Below the barn the dirt road
has been graded. The noon sun
wakes the warm winds, raises dust
toward the house. He is walking
the overgrown logging road
up to the pine stand beyond
the field and singing the pitch
of the chain saw ragging wild.
Belief becomes the pasture
sprawling down to the graded
highway. I am cutting
lupines for the table.

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Copyright © 1996 Linda Hogan/Log Cabin Chronicles/11.96