Today's poem is by Wilmer Mills

Making the Cradle

All in winter while the lion's mane
Presided over sky too vast to measure,
I set out scraps of walnut lumber saved
From cabinet shops, and studied how the grain
Had grown and then was cut. It gave me pleasure,
As when looking at the stars I've braved
The cold to see Orion keeping time
With Leo in a pattern like a rhyme.

It's said that aborigines can hear
The stars, and several times when I have seen
A meteor, there seemed to be a sound,
A muffled whistle through the atmosphere.
I've heard it planning knots in oak where scenes
Of grain in radiating lines abound.
Their patterns look like solar systems drawn
In books, elliptical by how they're sawn.

But some will ask why plans for joinery
Should turn my eye to stars and prick my ears.
Do trees record the sound of light in timber?
Is astronomy like forestry?
I do hear ringing in the wood, a timbre
Written like the music of the spheres.
So keeping rhythm with my tools, I need
To listen over wood as if to read.

This is joy for the cradle-maker's heart:
To build a little bed and make it sound,
To learn the curvature of crescent moons,
Their delicate meniscus, all with art
So rudimentary it becomes profound.
The walnut whispers and the starlight croons.
I'll make this cradle by the sky, and swing
Our child to what the constellations sing.

Copyright © 2004 Wilmer Mills All rights reserved
from Tar River Poetry
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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