Walnut Lippezaner


The old man’s hands were gnarled and scarred
from the slip of chisel and knife.
Faded blue eyes in a time-weathered face
took measure of people and life.

He ran a sure hand down the curve of a neck;
felt the softness of wood he had shaped.
And the fragrance of wood chips gave notice to all
the carver was back in his place.

The pattern had given a shape to each block,
proportion and form were just right.
But the hands of the carver must furnish the skill
to bring one more pony to life.

Sure strokes of the blade brought forth a proud head;
formed swirls of forelock and mane.
Each hoof was exquisitely wrought by a hand
familiar with texture and grain.

Now lovingly formed, the horse stood complete;
but far from finished was he.
For his hide was still rough and no glassy bright eyes
had been placed in this fiery steed.

Now smoothing to velvet the wood he had hewn,
the carver seemed almost to bless;
As he brought forth the softness from deep in the wood,
inviting each touch and caress.

The flashing brown eyes were set and secured,
and suddenly springing to life;
The pony seemed now to be gazing away
to a carousel dreamy and bright.

The carver’s hands are gnarled and scarred
from the slip of chisel and knife.
But no other hands can take a Linn tree
and bring such a creature to life!

©Donna Swanson/ Reflections on the Carousel


About dswan2

Poet, author, columnist, lyricist, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, wife of 50 years. Born and raised in America's Heartland
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5 Responses to THE CARVER

  1. Kay Salady says:

    What a wonderful piece for the year of the horse. I thoroughly enjoyed reading “The Carver”!

  2. Joe Zakarian says:

    Hey, I can just hear the clippety-clop of their hooves!


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