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The Axe





I’m not a violent man – well, I like to think I’m not.

But here was a strange experience, being startled by the realisation that I held such potential in my hand. All I wanted was to buy a new axe to split my logs, the old one’s head having broken from its handle.

Suddenly however, I found myself not just in possession of a lethal weapon, but one that seemed to have its own inclinations. And even worse, the power to influence me.

I wonder how much that’s a characteristic of all weapons?

Well, the poem tells the story, so no need to say any more, except to add that I was further surprised to discover that what I’d written was light-hearted, when the experience was actually quite a heavy one.

Still, all ended happily – my wood pile is high and tidy, no one came to any harm and I remain (I think) non-violent.

 

 

The Axe

 

Down there, as far as you can go...

There they were, in the distant corner

spades and mattocks, scythes and axes –

heavy tools, unused and shining

stood to attention in their racks

waiting for their call to arms.

 

I lifted one to feel its weight –

a Splitting Axe was what I'd come for.

It seemed as though we were acquainted.

I tried some others.  The first felt best –

hanging comfortably from my hand.

I’d made my choice and so set off

 

towards the till, swinging the axe

my new old friend.  Round the end

of Fixtures and Fittings, I bumped into

a baby buggy. Abrupt apologies

to a startled father.  I transferred

the weapon to my other hand.

 

Past Hand Tools, Padlocks, Locks and Chains

Cables, Wires – a near collision –

I strode on, as if driven

by my powerful pendulum –

its weight and lineage telling me

what it had been made to do.

 

How strong its urge, since it had found

an arm to lift and swing it…

Another aisle – Dog Beds and Toys

now full of people, none of whom

had noticed me, working hard

to restrain my axe from taking flight.

 

The choice was mine – if not the power

to hold back an axe evolved to find

the plane of cleavage, splitting open

softer things. I held it awkwardly

behind me. The swinging stopped.

I slipped past Cat Food quietly.

 

One Splitting Axe.  Anything else?

She didn’t even raise her eyes.  I looked back

down the aisles, at all those people –

no severed limbs, no pools of blood –

just a lot of shoppers.  Then went home

with my unused Splitting Axe.

 










 

 


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