Moulding the Sides
The bench cleared, ready; the Iron hot,
Wood, well-soaked, without stain or knot.
Cool head, sure hand - but there's grace in it -
Graceless, the ribs collapse and split
The scorch of maple, the hiss of steam
Pungent end to a craftsman's dream ...
Grace then, and skill, in the craft I chose,
For wood bent justly turns and flows
Supple and shining, and moulded in
Shapes the song of a violin ...
We stop at his door, then turn away:
"Quiet! He's bending ribs today."
from The Luthier: poems (Reed, 1966), © Ruth Gilbert 1966, used by permission of the author.
Recording from the Waiata New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive 1974.