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poem by R. T. Smith

In Brightwood: Poems, Louisiana State University Press, 2003.

The saw blade will go slowly
into the limb's center where sap
has ambered the timber, whether
it be holly, fir or cedar, and maple's
grain is the gift of candor
filled with cambered light
and the patience of a bird-knit
forest. Clasp knife and chisel
will shape the waist, bridge, neck
and scroll. A good cut—sliver
by sliver—finds an owl's eye
in the texture. You rasp and sand
for the curve of muscle, the feel
of bone, then smoke and varnish
for the whiskey sheen. When
it's dry and strung, tune it to the wind
til it comes alive, brightwood again.
If a fiddle's fashioned with such ardor,
it can stir the world's first spark,
drawn the way healing always is—
from the stridor of the dark.


I originally found this poem on the website Poetry Daily. It's a wonderful evocation of making a fiddle.

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