A Shuck of Stone

When the lemon yellow of a doubtful flower tells lies
And the hush pink plum blossoms first fail to surmise
A touch and a kiss turn to stone.

When the steep turn toward the dark cherry dyes
And find winkle’s wake still seeping under the sash
A drink and a dress turn to stone.

To turn to stone is not to die and worm away
A stone never slept nor arose
A stone is a stone is a stone is a stone.

When knickknacks walk and talk and wingding
The livelong night no wonder
A flower turns to stone.

Hearths are made of stone, and wheels, and paths,
And walls, and dwellings, and churches, and busts.
A stone thrown skiffles across water and plops.

When a shuck of stone falls from the sky
Not a soft place on the land to nest
A tempest has turned to stone.

When in spring one feels petrified
Curl and pit and weigh and hurl
Slink and creep and push and pull.

When the angels of spring go stone
Old stones erupt in new waves
And lyrical flowers woe no bloom.


  1. Love stones. Your poem reminded of these last lines from Part II 10 Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus (my translation)

    … Words still softly dissolve before the unspeakable state,
    And sounds from most resonant stones give form,
    gather music, ever new, into the unmade.

    1. Yes, good. Glad you shared that today, when words like stones can also be weights, and tongue-tied with them, mouth full of rocks, we might be mistaken by a listener for a man drowning. Don’t have my Rilke close at hand (1st mistake!), but that’s great you did your own translation. Will look it up tonight. Thanks for reading and comment, Ashen.

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