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The Carpenter’s House

I have dreamed these recent weeks
of Rostwich where my white-haired uncle lived:
the yellow house of lichen-crusted stone,
the ancient garden scaled with dappled gold,
the jumbled hills that ache with green.

There he shaped an image of Christ crucified,
from a fragile piece of the one true cross,
that was brought to him from the Holy Land.
He painted it with tints he ground himself
and set it on the wall above his lathe;
a thought-piece for an atheist carpenter.

We took it back to our house when he died
and kept it on the mantelpiece for luck.
Then one spring-cleaning when it fell and broke,
we found there was a seed inside its head,
which I planted in a sunny flowerpot
and now a skinny sapling’s budding there.

But I dream that in my uncle’s house,
there’s a hidden room where no one’s ever been,
where a giant mirror hangs upon a wall,
in a frame of wrinkled wood that sprouts with leaves
and does not reflect anything at all.

And the jumbled hills cry out with green,
the ancient garden seethes with golden light,
the house squats like a lump of mouldy cheese,
displeased that all its rooms are bare and dark,
till there’s the whisper of a gently opening door
and Christ walks down the stairs with wooden feet.
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