Carve a Name for Yourself – Philip Burton

Carve a Name for Yourself
(a woodwork teacher’s advice to a dyslexic child)

Book words can resemble ghosts 
or be like pressed flowers –
memorials to meadows lost 
        down drains and under houses.

Although print has much to teach us,
letter shapes demand a solid base 
as when the characters 
are carved from blocks of linden wood –
not pared down to petty stains
all too flimsy on the page
       for anything but a passing glance
from one who strains to read.

Words spring from throat and hands
clay and wedge, chisel and mallet.
Hold that thought. Feel the power
in your fingers and palms. 

Philip Burton