Walking Stick

Whether White Ash so carefully pruned
or supple Chestnut long-grained and tuned.
It might be a special speckled Hazel
or wood from a Canadian Maple.
Not for fruit, it could be Cherry
or from America, a Hickory.
And, for a wood speciality,
there was the black Ebony.

The curve of the stick handle was once an art
a family secret they would not impart.
Heating the wood needed craft and skill,
now machines are used to perform the drill.

There was a time when a walking stick
was an essential part of a gentleman’s outfit.
Some concealed small compartments
to contain brandy or blades.
Handles had gold or silver mounts
or were made of horn or ivory,
sculpted into animal heads
with precious stone eyes.
What appeared to be a wardrobe accessory
caused the owner to walk with a manly flourish.