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Poetry by Ken Hill: The Whittlers (Redux)

Ken Hill has fond memories of trips to town with his grandfather and the whittlers' fair back then. The tradition slowly faded, and he wonders if it could ever return. Click on The Whittlers (Redux) printable poem

The Whittlers (Redux)
Ken Hill, 19 August 2010
When did whittling go out of style?
And did anything take its place?
Wherever I go, the benches are empty
Not a single smiling face.

As a child I remember my grandfather's knife,
and the shavings so delicate and thin.
As I tried to mimic with a rusty little blade
No danger to cedar or skin.

He would while away the hours with stories
of war and the days of his youth.
While the sweet wood piled beneath him
He regaled me with stories and half-truths.

Saturday trips to town
were like visits to a whittler's fair
With row after row of competitors
lined all 'round the public square.

Lies were told and stories were traded
While the shavings fell softly down.
The conversations gauged
by the size of the pile on the ground.

Then, like music in the background,
unnoticed until it is gone,
not a single whittler was left
in front of the Courthouse lawn.

Will it return? Can it come back?
Or is another bit of history gone?
I ponder this question with cedar in hand
as steel meets a sharpening stone.
-Ken Hill, 8 August 2010
The Whittlers (Redux) was inspired by photo of Jimmy Lawrence and Johnny Vaughn with Eddie Waggener, and the Vaughn cousins' memories of their glory days as kingpins at the Hardscratch General Store, the celebrated Poet/Friolationist/Lawman/Gun Trader offered this accompaniment to the picture by Linda Waggener of the boys as The Whittlers (Redux) . CM has also received permission from J.M. Shelley to reprint "The Whittlers," the famous poem by his late father, John Shelley, as soon as someone submits it to using any Contact/Submit button.

This story was posted on 2010-08-20 08:05:41


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