Pam Tabor –Two Poems

Splitting Cords

The axe blade sinks
biting into rough grain—

He remembers:
nights, wicked cold,
blinding boldness of moon and stars,
canvas black as sin—
the ground frozen white
and beautiful.

She used to make him
drag out the sled and
climbing to the top
of Woodall’s Hill
they’d fly
to the bottom like mad.


Like splitting logs,
the scent of raw wood,
hard and solid,
painful after so many years.



After leaving my hometown
I saw
the grandeur of “big cities”—
laced with 4 lanes
paved with confusion and wonder.

We careen over city sidewalks—
lost souls rubbing shoulders
with kith and kin
looking for that small town
honesty we left behind
in our valleys and hollers
like it was something
they would all understand.
out here where the lights
were always on.

In this new world
where doing the right thing
makes the news,
we should have known
that what we left behind
would be the one unobtainable virtue
we’d strive for
all the rest of our days.