Downhome Magazine

The Wood Stove

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Poem by Curt Budden
Art by Darrin Martin

The Wood Stove

A Newfoundland scene that so many adore
That cast iron wood stove on the home kitchen floor.
A sight ever so simple, yet meaning ever so much.
With its scent of hot embers while being hot to the touch.
It was common in town, as well as out in the bays.
And it brought comfort to families in so many ways.

It was a brightener of days. It was a warmer of souls.
It was the home of the kettle, and the filler of bowls.
It took the chill from your bones, as it made you feel warmer.
Alongside the wood stack and poker that sat in the corner.
Once your eyes saw the stove, there was no need to roam.
Long before TVs and man caves, it was the centerpiece of the home.

It made children feel cozy. A son or a daughter.
It was the cooker of supper, and the boiler of water.
They were used to seal bottles for your pickles and beets.
As well as heating rocks during winter, which went under the sheets.
Numerous memories linger. Many can look back and cry.
Such as snow covered mittens that would hang over and dry.

The frigid water would drop off and then flash into steam.
While a blueberry pudding was cooking, and soon call out for cream.
Having to lift up the burner to throw another junk in.
If that stove could tell stories? Where would it begin?
Electric heaters took over as the years would go by.
But you can never top wood heat, no matter how hard you try.

The wood stove's heat is unique, and those who know that will tell it.
For you can feel it and breathe it, as well as taste it and smell it.
It can provide a sensation without even knowing.
With one foot in the door, you'll know the wood stove is going.
One simple strike of the match and with the paper igniting.
It would create such an atmosphere so calm and inviting.

A hot tea or coffee, or while cracking a beer.
Graduations and birthdays, the wood stove was there.
It was there for the pleasures. It was there for the fights.
It was there for the grey skies, and the cold winter nights.
It was there to toast bread. It was there for salt meat.
So much can be done, with a wood stove fire's heat.

It didn't have wires, or utility poles.
There were no batteries, timers, or cordless controls.
It was hot iron vessel, and that's pretty much all.
With a damper to flick and a stack out the wall.
Yet it was honestly perfect, and it made people glad.
And I'm sure many are grateful for the good times they had.

It was loved by your guests if they popped by for a visit.
For that cast iron marvel that was truly exquisite.
Whether they were playing a card game with drinks, laughs, and rants.
Or perhaps it was the mummers and Christmas that were having a dance.
It could mellow your shot nerves, even if you were drove.
For there's something simple yet soothing, about the family wood stove.

-Curt Budden

Alberta
 
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