Log Cabin Fever

Living is like honey licked from a thorn.
The log cabin that he built at Ebenezer,
booming Jerusalem into his beard, burnt down.
Into its ashes he hewed the heraldic one.
The snake among the hardwood slithered back.
In the burning bush that was my mother’s cradle
he’d made an enemy, the smouldering stake
of a mad hatter as hard to grasp as a snake.

With his quiet wife he killed the snake and raised
five sons and taught them how to build hard farms.
The war killed them as love had killed the snake,
with venom, and hid them where the poppy blooms
and grief grew its fatigue in landscaped stones.
Hidden years later the hatter slithered out of a tree
in his bones.