Contemplating a Pile of Stove Wood

by Jessie Salisbury

Frosty Leaves by Jeffrey C. Dickler

It squats there on the edge of the driveway,
Head-high, sprawling onto the grass:
Two cords of wood for the kitchen stove,
Cut to length and nicely split,
Accusing me of not tending it.

I should stack it neatly in the cellar,
But it has been too hot for the exertion,
Or the dew was too heavy the night before,
Or it rained and the wood is wet,
Or there are more interesting things to do.

Throwing it in the cellar is not a difficult job,
Nor an onerous one to be much dreaded.
It is a leisurely kind of exercise,
Just strolling the short distance
From the pile to cellar window carrying a stick or two.

But there it sits, waiting for me to have time,
Or the weather has cooled enough,
Or the wood is dry again,
Or I feel the urge of the turning season
To prepare for winter.


Jessie Salisbury has lived in the area for over 70 years and was an original member of the Monadnock Writers’ Group. She has been a part-time reporter for several area newspapers, including the Monadnock Ledger (before it was the Ledger-Transcript), where she originated the history column. Jessie currently writes for The Cabinet of Milford and The Telegraph of Nashua.

Jeffrey C. Dickler, a native of Brooklyn, New York, was transplanted to the Midwest after his formative years. His love of the outdoors grew from summers at his grandfather’s Camp Iroquois on Frost Pond in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. By age four he already had hiked to the peak of Mount Monadnock. Later family trips to the American Southwest and National Parks cemented his love of exploring nature with a pack on his back and camera in hand. In 2017 he retired to the Monadnock region. He lives with his wife, Deni, and their four-legged companion, Willy Waggins, in Rindge, New Hampshire.