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My Father’s Woodpile

A heartfelt poem by Author Nick Sweet

My Father’s Woodpile

My father cuts his firewood
His chain saw smokes and spits
Though he’s four years past fourscore
A lot of wood is split

Beneath the searing midday sun
His energy is waning
Still he stalks the timber
Intent and uncomplaining

Sweat pours off in rivulets
Wood chips pierce his skin
Though covered in shavings
He stacks it to his chin

I wonder why his woodpile
Never seems diminished
Every time I visit
His work is never finished

Then in an epiphany
It’s all precise and clear
Why, when the day is oven-hot,
He’ll gamely persevere

Whoever hears my father’s prayers
Would never take a man
With an abundant woodpile
Stacked by his own hand

He fights to free his jammed-up saw
Soon it’s extricated
Once more he attacks the log
His purpose unabated

I view this self-reliant man
Who never seems defeated
And wonder: Can I face the day
His woodpile is depleted?


About Nick Sweet

I have been a freelance stage director for over 40 years, with most of my productions being in Oklahoma. I also have written a musical, Nanyehi, The Story of Nancy Ward, with singer/songwriter Becky Hobbs, which is being produced this year on May 4th & 5th at the Hard Rock Casino Theatre (The Joint) in Tulsa, Okla. In 2001 I directed the outdoor drama, Trail of Tears in Talequah, OK, written by my friend, Joe Sears, native Oklahoman and Tony nominated actor/writer for the Greater Tuna series. I have been writing poetry and short stories for most of the last 40 years as well. I teach a yearly specialty theatre/literature enrichment program for 4th graders in the Bartlesville School system called Spotlight.


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Published inPoetry

One Comment

  1. Russell MacClaren Russell MacClaren

    Sweet and gripping sentiment expressed here. I recall when I had these feelings and posed this question, thinking ahead to a time I knew would come. Such thoughts make the present poignant and help us savor moments we will later cherish in memory. Nice poem.

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