Poetry Friday May 10, 2019 - Ready and Willing

Poetry Friday is hosted today by poet Liz Steinglass, who has just published SoccerVerse, a book of poetry about everything soccer. Check out her page to read some of her drafts and learn about her editing process. Then you can go to the links to more poets sharing work today.

In 1958, when I was five years old, my parents and other relatives set out on a great adventure north.
I have been writing bits and pieces about it for a while, but to push myself to write, I plan to post bits and pieces of their saga here every Friday. They might not be in any kind of order. I just hope to get some kind of reasonable drafts out there.
I appreciate feedback on the construction of the poetry and ideas and questions about what information might be missing.

These days I'm immersed in researching forestry history in British Columbia. My head spins with vocabulary: words for machinery; words for jobs and responsibilities; words for trees and forest conditions; and words for hazards. I'm overwhelmed. I'm trying to figure out what I need and how to use it. 

Did you know that tree falling (aside from the charter air industry) was, and still is today, the most dangerous job in North America?

Today's very rough first draft integrates a wee bit of what I'm reading.

This is the sixth poem. 

You can read the earlier ones by clicking on the links below. 



Ready and Willing

A lumberjack’s
work was dangerous.
Still is.
So many ways to
get yourself
seriously injured
or killed,
almost all of them
to do with logs.

   Snag: ecology
     A dead or dying branch or tree
     Nursery to a variety of animal and plant species

   Snag: logging
     A dead branch in a tree being felled
     A dead tree in an area to be logged
     Also known as widow-maker

A few years earlier,
Uncle Len,
an experienced faller,
had been paralyzed by one.
Almost lost his life.

But fallers
made good money
those days.
Still do.

My father, working as a
high rigger,
could easily make
a hundred dollars a day.

And so,
eager to make some money,
the men set themselves to
get a contract,
start logging,

make use of the
expensive equipment
they had spent
all their money on.


  1. Wow, a hundred dollars a day must have been amazing so long ago. But hard, hard & as you say, dangerous work. I hope you are gathering & seeing some order already with these, then insert what is missing, perhaps from those you can still talk with? Great stories.

    1. That's what my father told me he made Linda. I was shocked when I looked at how much that would be in today's dollars!

  2. My husband is a forester, so I've been aware of the dangers of logging. Fortunately, he doesn't do much felling of timber himself. Even though some of the tools have changed (chain saws replacing cross cut saws), it is still a dangerous business. I'm enjoying your series of poems.

    1. It really is. I was surprised that even helicopter logging is dangerous.

  3. Living on Long Island puts me in a whole different territory. Logging is rarely mentioned so I continue to find your adventure tale so interesting, Cheriee. I remember stories of loggers when I was a child but this story of yours is compelling me to learn more.

    1. I think logging is rarely mentioned in many parts of your country and mine.

  4. I love how you included the double meaning of snag. Amazing that they were ready and willing in spite of all the dangers!

    1. Thank you Mary Lee. I contemplated leaving the first definition out, but the contrast feels profound to me.