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Axe Handles

by
 One afternoon the last week in April
Showing Kai how to throw a hatchet
One-half turn and it sticks in a stump.
He recalls the hatchet-head Without a handle, in the shop And go gets it, and wants it for his own.
A broken-off axe handle behind the door Is long enough for a hatchet, We cut it to length and take it With the hatchet head And working hatchet, to the wood block.
There I begin to shape the old handle With the hatchet, and the phrase First learned from Ezra Pound Rings in my ears! "When making an axe handle the pattern is not far off.
" And I say this to Kai "Look: We'll shape the handle By checking the handle Of the axe we cut with—" And he sees.
And I hear it again: It's in Lu Ji's We Fu, fourth century A.
D.
"Essay on Literature" - in the Preface: "In making the handle Of an axe By cutting wood with an axe The model is indeed near at hand.
" My teacher Shih-hsiang Chen Translated that and taught it years ago And I see: Pound was an axe, Chen was an axe, I am an axe And my son a handle, soon To be shaping again, model And tool, craft of culture, How we go on.

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