Woodcut By Thomas McGrath: Meditation and Reading

October 5, 2020  • Todd Breyfogle

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It is easy to feel conquered by the daily wrestle of tasks to be done. The only lift is the rise of the constant uphill trudge. Jacob wrestled with the angel; even our encounter with the divine is a struggle. All is worn—clothed, carried, eroded, thinned. To wear is both to be protected and to be weary with the friction of living. 

A woodcut depends upon a reversal (like a photographic negative)—what is cut away reveals itself on the printed page. The process is called relief. Thomas McGrath’s poem “Woodcut” asks us to think in relief, to see the negative space between the imprinted lines, to recognize what is cut away to be the space of living and of perhaps grace. What are the spaces between the lines that lighten your load, that salve the wear and tear? Those trained to see in relief may also find relief.

Todd Breyfogle, Denver, Colorado

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