The Stone

Roy Herndon Smith


A stone on the beach,
grey, oblong, a cleft and white
streak running lengthwise.

Seen wet and shiny,
picked up, drying dull, but still
pocketed for home.

Held, with thumb running
along its crack and contours,
shining it back up.


Drawn and drawn again,
lost in a move, found under
covers in a dream.

Memory rubbing
life, oblong with a cleft and
a streak, to a shine.

On this rock, I build
a teetering festival
cairn of still small words.


Born of earth and fire,
and thrown out of water womb,
into air and sun,

the stone, in layers
and contours, receives and shapes
waves of time and sense—

eternity, in
grey with a white streak, held in
the palm of my hand.


Sing a song of stone
sense, an oblong lullabye.
Lay me down to sleep

in a cleft between
swelling grey curves, a stretch of
white covering me.

Beyond self, the stone
rocks all back into matter—
mother, seas, and earth.