This poem came out of a recent Suffolk Poetry Society workshop, ‘Tree Ring Time- Clock Time’, led by the excellent Kate Foley. I wrote it thinking about the mass of empiric knowledge we have to accumulate in life.
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Hard won knowledge stacks by the cord:
The wedge runs in Oak but sticks in Walnut.
Straight grained Pine chops best to kindling.
A sack of logs costs half a crown
thirty-pence is half a crown, four sacks are ten bob.
Four hundred volts locks you rigid on the wire.
Frosted beet blunts the knives and blinds the press.
When sugar juice strings between finger and thumb
it will shock to crystal under vacuum.
A sack of barley weighs twelve stones.
When green malt flours between finger and thumb
the piece is ready to load to kiln.
Empiric baggage, packed and stacked,
paid for with patience, loaded with time