How to build a woodpile
by Jane Baston

Take up your tools —
bucksaw, maul, splitting wedge.

Use wood seasoned and dry —
lapped birch splits, riven white oak.

Choose your pattern —
shaker round, beehive, cone.

Place on level ground —
each cord stacked and ricked.

Avoid over-regularity —
uniformity causes inward collapse.

Beware water from above and below –
rot, decay, decomposition.

Encourage the flow of air —
face prevailing winds, bark up.

Let the occupants be —
Earwigs, pillbugs, beetles do no harm.

Even the brown recluse spider prefers to scuttle off
than give its lethal bite.

Originally published in Lunar Poetry 9 (June 2016).

PHOTO: Woodpile in the Woods by Pixabay, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Some years ago, faced with my first delivery of wood, I needed to build a woodpile. The details of construction were fascinating and gave rise to a poem as well as the woodpile.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jane Baston is a teacher and writer living in Scotland. Her poetry and prose have appeared in a variety of places including StandMslexiaRain Taxi, Places of Poetry, and Ekphrastic Review.