Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tom Dodd: Carpenter, Poet

Tom Dodd is one of the most generous and open-hearted people I've ever met. He's also a darn good carpenter. He lives in a tipi near Pescadero, California, which is near my town of La Honda. Right now he's foreman on the construction of a 4 story condo/retail building in Hunters Point, which means a long drive up the coast every morning and back every evening.

Tom's a poet, which seems to be an occupational hazard among some of the carpenters in this area.

Recently, an emu was wandering uninvited near Tom's tipi, lost but dignified, owner unknown, which has nothing to do with this topic but gives a sense of the daily strangeness in our neighborhood, perhaps the ghost of a Merry Prankster:
Anyway, here's one of my favorite poems written by Tom when he was living in a house, not a tipi, at Struggle Mountain:


Rough stone, smoke blackened,
time darkened mantel
and pale fire brick, chewed by near a century
of tree fall, building scraps,
old tool handles, broken furniture,
its looming dark mass anchors the house,
fixes the resident orbit,
draws us into its welcome grasp.

Katie could stretch out in its wide hearth opening,
stone cooled on a hot summer night,
but now we sit before the fire
bathing in warm woodglow
listening to embers talk:
the fir pitch cracking and spitting,
a fresh branch hissing,
the sound of logs suddenly settling to ash.

Cities of coals gilt vague memories
and dragon-tongued flames dance near
the curled hound’s sleep.
Here Jesse plots games and devices
and Katie dries and dreams after warm baths.
And I meet myself sitting quiet,
spellbound,beyond the limits of time,
at this same fire
in other places, in distant years,
amazed at this wealth.


  1. http://imageorigins.blogspot.com/

  2. Kind words Mr. Cottonwood, thank you. To be accurate: the tipi, which I re-erected today, after having loaned it to some young friends who had their house burned down in Bonny Doon earlier this year, is a simple retreat, but my home is in the cabin.