Today's poem is by Glyn Maxwell

The Stones in Their Array

Though they've been burned and thundered into place,
rained, dripped and seared and bobbled into soil,
the stones in their array, the garden's still,
and the soil a hand scoops into hands them back
            for keeps without a scuffle.

As all they are is what they've ended up as.
And all they mean is where the weather left them,
or how it feels to find them, how it feels
to have these tumbled side by side. What else
            makes up a constellation?

Each has a weight no other has. Each feels
precisely cold until it feels like nothing.
Reasons for colour, shape, reasons for beauty
strike you as time passes; as a child
            they simply held you still.

I know a man who stoops for a whole armful
he polishes until his face is present,
then redeploys according to his feelings,
then backs away until he's safely hidden,
            on tiptoe in the bushes.

Soon every thing beyond the thing he's made
has faded into nothing, like the black felt
for gemstones. Prison-light of afternoon
draws from his face and still his eyes are fixed
            in pride on his formation.

The crowd that never comes he is expecting
never to, it says so in his artwork,
because to find a secret pile of pebbles
amazing, one would have to be alone
             on earth, and not have made it.

Copyright © 2002 Glyn Maxwell All rights reserved
from Rattapallax
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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