Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thinking Through the Tree of Life

by Dennis Fargo
He stared at it for two weeks. He did not know what to do.
So he picked up his tools and began …

First he stripped the log of all its bark.
He cut its length in half, that a sturdy crossbar could be fashioned to carry the unseen,
Precious Weight.
He wanted strength, but
At its head appeared a twisted crown evoking thorns and gold.
Suffering and glory at once revealed by the strokes of his chisel.

Cedar filled the carver’s head like incense, but still he didn’t know …
Anxious now, he stood in the woodchips.

The bottom next, perhaps. He meant a worthy pedestal for the base.
The column started true – but – the – tools – gave up instead a mirror of the chase.
Alright, he thought. Strong roots to grasp the Rock that bears the tree,
And yet, within, the unmistakable joining of ankle and of knee …

A gouge to sharpen the lines, then, that upper and lower might be one piece.
But the knot above asked for more work, and became instead, a wound, a crease.

On the right a simple flourish would do. Follow the twist again, in application.
But as he worked, his tools worked, too.
The braid was open here, a hand up-turned, both plea and supplication.

Still, the work had strength. Then last, the left.
Perhaps the chisel slipped – or was it by design?
The grain was true enough, and fine.
But where at last the limb outstretched, it was as if a hand were cleft.
Good enough, the carver smiled – for WE are His left hand made flesh.

He stared at it for two weeks. He did not know what would suffice.
But working with the carver’s hands, the Maker gave it life anew.
To honor Son and hope imbue,
The Maker carved a Tree of Life.

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