Sunday, September 24, 2006

I've got wood like you wouldn't believe.....

It was a cord of maple, cut and split
And piled -- and measured, four by four by eight.
And not another like it could I see.
No runner tracks in this year's snow looped near it.
And it was older sure than this year's cutting,
Or even last year's or the year's before.
The wood was gray and the bark warping off it
And the pile somewhat sunken. Clematis

Had wound strings round and round it like a bundle.
What held it though on one side was a tree
Still growing, and on one a stake and prop,
These latter about to fall. I thought that only
Someone who lived in turning to fresh tasks
Could so forget his handiwork on which
He spent himself, the labor of his ax,
And leave it there far from a useful fireplace
To warm the frozen swamp as best it could
With the slow smokeless burning of decay.

-- Robert Frost, "The Wood-Pile"

Oh, yeah, baby. I got wood, alrighty! Mostly cherry, with some ash and locust all harvested from the wooded hilltop that is the Roxtar Compound. Good Appalachian hardwood, stored solar energy waiting to be released as fire and glowing coals, radiant warmth to battle the worst winter has to offer.

Cost of wood: $0.00
Splitter rental: $47.70
Cost of fuel oil: $0.00
Wood heat in winter: Priceless


  • Reading this was a fascinating surprise. I was unfamiliar with the Frost poem, so I read through the post as if it were prose (assuming -- you may be flattered to hear -- that it was your prose). When I found out it was a poem, I went back and, of course, recognized the rhymes and meter -- and saw how understated they were. Which may be a measure of great poetry. Is this the way to get people who think they dislike poetry, to read it?

    By Anonymous Fred Wickham, at 6:43 PM  

  • I didn't mean to disguise it as prose; that was a serendipitous fluke arising from my lack of mad html skillz.

    I'm not much of a poetry fan. I stumbled across this while looking for something else on Google, and it seemed relevant, anda good way to add a little class. I agree that it's great poetry, for the reasons you've identified. And like all great writing, it leaves you with something to think about. Why would you bust your ass cutting, splitting and stacking all that wood, only to leave it abandoned? (In Frost's day and place, the requisite expenditure of effort would have been a given, without necessity of explanation.) Did the woodsman, as Frost suggests, flit to another new pursuit? Or did he die before he had a chance to enjoy the fruits of his labor?

    Anyway, I loved the poem, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Not my prose, though, flattered though I truly am.....

    By Blogger roxtar, at 5:44 AM  

  • Nice wood.

    We read that poem 100 times in my college poetry class. It's not bad.

    By Blogger Grant Miller, at 6:16 PM  

  • Man am I jealous! Even if I did have wood heat, I'd still have to buy the wood each year. Instead, I get raped by the gas company December through February.

    By Blogger Blowing Shit Up With Gas, at 9:30 PM  

  • While I buy my wood pre-cut each year, I also heat only with a woodstove in the winter. Priceless? Well, not exactly, since cordwood isn't free unless you can cut and haul it yourself, but it's still a huge savings over the electric baseboard heaters this old house is equipped with.
    And it IS absolutely priceless when it comes to that glorious heat. There is nothing like the deep, comforting warmth from a fireplace or woodstove. I love the smell of the wood (we burn almond), the "chunk" sound it makes as I stack it into the ring next to the stove, and the way it spices the late fall and winter air outside.
    I wouldn't have it any other way.
    Thanks for the poem.

    By Blogger Blue Wren, at 1:23 AM  

  • Nice post. Been years since I was around burning wood. My new place has a fireplace, though, and after a look by a sweep to make sure it's clear I may use it this winter.

    By Blogger Kevin Wolf, at 9:54 AM  

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