Homage to a Maker of Wooden Birds

by Matthew Haughton


for folk artist Ed Franklin

He tells me he got his hands
from his grandmother,
thick knuckles
worthy of a life’s hardship.
I see the pile of wood scraps
in the corner,
where in the wood
he finds the contours
of unnoticed birds,
his Scandinavian refugees
waiting for him
to give them lasting form.
One scrap will be a robin;
he will carve
a hole in the belly,
just wide enough to hold
an egg —
another will become
a crane,
unknown in these parts
if not for his hands.
Tomorrow he’ll go out
in the early hours
to hide each handmade bird,
tucking them away
behind library stacks
and bus depot benches.
Giving his art away,
like hands passing
from one artist to another. 

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