Don Thompson

Not parsimonious but wise,
our aged oak allows sufficient deadwood
for only a few fires each winter.

Without limits, we lose interest,
easily bored, even though
there’s no aroma on earth
more soothing than kindled oak—
no incense more exquisite,
no finer balm for the nerves
this side of Gilead…

And so, in spring, cleaning the hearth,
thrice toss these oaken ashes,
an unashamed ritual
that seems archaic if not pagan,
and trust that God,
who cherishes the oak’s offering
much more than we do,
will understand.

Sample: Thomas Campion, “Thrice toss…”


Don Thompson has been writing about the San Joaquin Valley for over fifty years, including a dozen or so books and chapbooks. For more information and links to publishers, visit his website.

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