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I was born with a graphite soul
And a wooden body to cover
I have a head of stone
Which brightens the way of millions

The first tool a student grips
From where their life unfolds
They write with my head
As if I am a slave

My tattoos are left
Engraved on piles of sheets
Munching on pale paper
Stuck in this world, sharpened

But one day, I grow short
Replaced by a pen
To teach us we are useless
That your mistakes cannot be erased






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This poem was awarded First Place (Primary) for Poetry Object 2019

'On first reading ‘A Piece of Wood’ I was astonished it was in the primary category. It’s such a wise, mature poem. ‘My tattoos are left / Engraved on piles of sheets / Munching on pale paper’ is an exquisite way to describe the use of a pencil. The metaphors stretch to unexpected places and the imagery is solid. The lines: ‘The first tool a student grips / From where their life unfolds / They write with my head / As if I am a slave’ are breathtaking. Every word is essential, it’s super tight. The poem delves deep, makes me quiver; it’s emotionally affecting, clever and careful. I absolutely loved it. This little poet was a clear winner.'
~ Emilie Zoey Baker, Judge, Poetry Object 2019