Strange, isn’t it, the uses we find for things?
Take wood for example.
Rimu, kauri, kahikatea – such beautiful grain and lustre,
Extraordinary pieces of furniture
Hand-crafted by the loving hands of artists.
Totara, carved into panels by Maori craftsmen
Expressing generations in forms of living beauty.
Wood has such splendour and depth in its grain.
Some wood though is grown for painting over,
like pinus radiata, hidden in framing houses,
grown less for beauty than utility.
For we have need of wood for cupboards, ladders, to be stepped on, hammered, sawn into everyday, taken for granted shapes and uses.
There are some people who don’t like wood,
who stand before it wooden-faced,
not seeing beauty, strength or purpose.
Some will burn good oak or rimu.
You see we are not all made the same
with sensitivities in one place.
Some wood is used for purposes quite foreign to a craftsman.
The caress of feeling hands is oft-times replaced by smack and snarl of purpose, to fashion, any old how, in haste, a gallows, or a club, or perchance a cross.
Yes, it’ll do.
It’s strong enough to put a man on for a day or two.
So heavy, yes and clumsy too, tips over.
Every step becomes a curse.
Splintered hands hang heavy underneath the blisters.
A craftsman’s son knows well the feel of wood
made smooth, made patiently to shine.
Even chairs, jointed well will last for years and years.
But now, unfriendly wood scrapes skin away,
cuts into shoulders now unused to carrying loads.
And on and on, it feels forever, to the end.
Some help indeed, but late, and cannot soothe the ache.
Around the bottom, below, twisted faces.
Laughing, jeering, spitting derisive hatred,
Picking at the knotty woodwork for a souvenir to remember the hoisted fool by.
Got him this time. Our wood is strong.
But he could jump off there if he’s got it right.
And have you got it right, kind fool, gentle king?
Your kingdom’s shrunk into a crossbeam.
Have you got it right?
Have you, have you, have you got it right?
And then the wood is silent like the night.
It has done its rough work well. Strong it stayed.
Unmoving. Stark now against the city sky.
Speaks through its silence of a hatred, deep,
but exposed of late;
brought to the surface by a force so strong,
more powerful even than the wood of loathing.
A voice of loving,
That takes the splintered wood of hate in us
And gently polishes to show its grain runs sweet and smooth.
The polish of a craftsman’s beauty.
Strange isn’t it, the uses God finds for things?