Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Summer Wood, or Resilience and The Black Ash

By Jen Hunt
3rd draft

The Menominee museum kept
Baskets under glass
Made from Black Ash
Black Ash--
(Elsewhere called Basket Ash, Brown Ash,
Water Ash, What-have-you Ash)--
Is unique among trees--
Having rings with no fiber between--
North Eastern Indigenous
(And Quakers)
Would take mallets and
Pummel the wood until
The weaker spring wood crushed and
The darker summer wood
Peeled away--
These tougher summer scraps
Trimmed, washed, and woven together
Found use
As containers
For berries and the like

Lord, you know
The growth rings hidden within
Here I am--
Black Ash in your hands—
Crush my proud pulp--
The emptiness that burdens--
The flesh that needs unraveling --
No other crafter
With hammer and lash
Is as temperate for the task--

Then prune, clean
And weave
What endures
Into a vessel strong
Still enough
To hold
Not foraged fruit
But soul—