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Carpenter Poets

On Sunday afternoon, I found myself marveling at the realization that inside so many of us there are artists, writers, actors, musicians that share equal space with our work-week personas. We spend 40 hours or more at jobs that pay the bills - we pound nails or answer phones; we care for the ill or the elderly; we teach; we head large corporations. All the while, under the surface, we are composing new works and waiting for the five o'clock hour when we can put pen to paper, brush to canvas, or otherwise be reunited with the instruments of our passion.

On Sunday afternoon, the Carpenter Poets read at the Forsyth Chapel at Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain. The men and women of trade - who build walls and windows and coax form from warm wood using cold steel edges - they also craft poetry that speaks about all of the building they do in their lives: with their hands, with gestures, with words, with one another, and with their families.

On Sunday afternoon, the Carpenter Poets stood under the bending spine of the chapel's great ceiling, each taking their turn against a backdrop of carved wood panels and delicate stained glass to give voice to their written words. As I listened, I imagined the words rising up to those beams long ago sanded smooth by other hands.

Here's a clip of some of the Carpenter Poets reading at their annual gathering at James's Gate in JP this past November: