Poem of the week: ‘The Afterlife of Lumber’ by Mark Tredinnick

Mark Tredinnick is a poet and essayist noted for his sensitivity to nature and landscape.

“The Afterlife of Lumber”, from his collection Fire Diary (Puncher & Wattmann), sees Tredinnick infuse a relatively mundane act such as burning wood with a spiritual glow. The poet appears twice at the Scottish Poetry Library in April, first alongside fellow Australian Emily Ballou on 4 April, and then leading a workshop on 6 April exploring “poetry and place”. They should act as an appetiser for his new collection, Bluewren Cantos, published later this year.

It smells like honey

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the boy says

opening the door

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and breathing in

what the furnace

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is breathing out.

These offcuts

I’m burning, I guess.

Felled trees redeemed

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and lathed and felled

again. Laid waste,

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they burn like saints.

And though they smell

like afternoon tea

to a hungry boy,

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they smell like the sweet

hereafter to me, late

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one day in winter.

You can borrow Fire Diary from the Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh EH8 8DT. Tel: 0131-557-2876, e-mail [email protected] or see www.spl.org.uk for details.