For Robert Taylor

Far off, a timber mill saw whines

As my grandfather never did

When his burnt down, but went straight in

To underground mine labouring with

A heart condition at the age

Of sixty-five. The photograph

I have of him—stern, squarely hewn—

And look at when a poem won’t work,

Except as paper to feed flame,

Is adamant with “Never let

The Tree Of Life, no matter how

Perverse and frustrating of your

Desire to carve art from it, get

So much as a squeak out of you,

But dig till what you write’s as clear

With truth as shovel’s shine from use.”

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