Almanac Poetry: ‘Woodcutting’ – Tommy Mallet






I’m working a sharp, high ridge with a bulge on it,

everything sweat, dry rings of pepper bark, uneven rocks and sky,

the nearest person 40-odd kms away.

The dog stops to look behind me –

staring, reading something.



Soon I pick-up, through the muggy heat,

what’s caught its senses.

There’s the smallest shift in air pressure,

a coolness so slight I suspect, rather than feel it,

the breeze has eased.

Over my shoulder the sky is still endless, hazed white,

spread fine by dusty Spring,

but rain is coming. A thunderstorm.



“Twenty minutes,” I speculate to the dog.

It’s good to feel on my skin

what she smells and hears.



In no time, distant thunder stars scratching at

my ear.

Then, closer, rumbles

either side of the ridge,

rising through boulders to my ribs.

A darkness gathers behind the bulge.




I watch a spider’s web while bringing down the blockbuster

time and again,

for no reason, for every reason,

because it’s there,

framed perfectly by retreating light and

dark, gathering clouds.



A wind picks up. Cold air swirls through hot,

the two of them gently pushing and tugging at me.

This is the front, before everything blurs.



Lightening starts breaking above us,

first drops fall.

The dog looks at me for direction,

it’s not safe up here.

But there’s still wood to cut.

“Why leave?” I tell her, “and

waste victories like these?”



Tommy Mallet




More from Tommy Mallet HERE



More poetry from Almanac Poetry can be read HERE



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