from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the handle of an ax


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  • Axe Handles

    Gary Snyder

    One afternoon the last week in April

    Showing Kai how to throw a hatchet

    One-half turn and it sticks in a stump.

    He recalls the hatchet-head

    Without a handle, in the shop

    And go gets it, and wants it for his own.

    A broken-off axe handle behind the door

    Is long enough for a hatchet,

    We cut it to length and take it

    With the hatchet head

    And working hatchet, to the wood block.

    There I begin to shape the old handle

    With the hatchet, and the phrase

    First learned from Ezra Pound

    Rings in my ears!

    "When making an axe handle

    the pattern is not far off."

    And I say this to Kai

    "Look: We'll shape the handle

    By checking the handle

    Of the axe we cut with—"

    And he sees. And I hear it again:

    It's in Lu Ji's We Fu, fourth century

    A.D. "Essay on Literature" - in the

    Preface: "In making the handle

    Of an axe

    By cutting wood with an axe

    The model is indeed near at hand."

    My teacher Shih-hsiang Chen

    Translated that and taught it years ago

    And I see: Pound was an axe,

    Chen was an axe, I am an axe

    And my son a handle, soon

    To be shaping again, model

    And tool, craft of culture,

    How we go on.

    February 21, 2007