It is a jigsaw-puzzle of a guard: different colours of wooden panels,
Cherry, oak and others not identified or, rather, looked up.
I like to imagine a range across time and place of their origin
And before being cut down in their prime
Saw the first guillotine or the first steam that wafted from an engine or
The marches of independence, and in quiet retirement watch over me.
Despite dampness sitting at its centre, it is loud when I’m angry.
But closure was never the issue.
Half-crescent is reached before the handle is turned
And the wall pays for being too close.
I put a little piece of wood on the other side than do others;
For some, the more seems the merrier
But I know, even now, I could do with just one.
Maybe I personify too much, and give more than its due;
It feels the panels would see more scalps, smoke or a bonded yoke overthrown once more.
Then again, the old bystander can always risk more.
For the guard I am grateful, the eagerness apprehensive
But happiness is a game of trade-offs,
To say nothing of the sound it makes when it swings far too wide.
The photograph is taken from Arnaav Bhavanani’s collection.