Perhaps this rustic bookcase can remember.
It feels again the sure hand of the carpenter
who measured out its generous shelves
and cut its solid parts with practised saw.
The same wood made its siblings, from broad planks
brought juddering to the workshop. There was long gestation
stacked in an odorous wood yard. The tenon joints,
the butt of wood to wood, were born from skills acquired
by patient labour. Do these shelves, sold to me
in a suburban junk shop by a faceless man,
hold ancestral memories of cold high skies, the struggle
towards light, the crunch of booted feet, creak
of expanding pine-cones, patter of leaves and rain
on a forest floor?
My flat-pack bookcase tells an urban story,
dysfunctional though claiming style and even elegance.
Its shelves are formed from particles from many sources
gathered, blended, combined with glue, a porridge
spread thin, strong but inflexible,
a pounded core encased in a veneer.
It was birthed in loud factories,
a fragmented parturition,
a cardboard box its embryonic sac.
The final stages of delivery were traumatic:
assembling it took half a day of puzzlement;
Incompetence led to a breach birth:
through no fault of its first progenitors
its shelves are upside down.
The beginning of a longer poem today. This may take a week to realise properly. It's about the biography of two ordinary objects, bookcases in my living room: a dialogue has begun between them in the poem and I'll try to develop it later because I don't have time today.