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Posts Tagged ‘collection’

Rocks, bought and collected

When I was a child I loved rocks; an abandoned gravel pit was my playground. When my father cleaned out the garage, he found bag after bag of my treasures. I still have a few on display in my home today.

I supposed that is why rocks have figured in a lot of my poems over the years, beginning with this very simple poem, written in my youth about a crush.

Rocks

You love rocks —

Aspire to be one.

I love rocks too,

but you don’t seem

to belong

in my collection.

In my twenties, I took part in a poetry workshop, during which I wrote and shared a long poem entitled “Nothing to do with Hesse.” I dug it out and reread it as I worked on this post, thinking that it seems so stilted as I read it now, but at the time it impressed another young woman in the workshop, though I didn’t know it. Months later a woman approached me on the train and said, “You’re the one that wrote that poem about Hesse…what a great poem that was!” One of those memorable moments in an ordinary life.┬áThis excerpt is where the rocks come in:

A little girl

spent hours alone,

cracking and collecting stones,

exploring the backyard gravel pit

as her private planet…But

that has nothing to do with him.

(Again about an unrequited attraction…my favorite topic in my youth.) It was when I wrote this poem the other day that it occurred to me that I was often writing about rocks, and that they seem to be an important symbol for me.

Heart-shaped rocks

Heart-shaped rocks

Heart Rock

Sometimes I wonder if I am salvageable.

When there is nothing left

but my rock of a heart,

What then?

The only way to know

if there is anything worthwhile inside

is to hurl it against another rock —

or smash it

with a hammer —

only then might the plain gray shale

reveal its story,

old as the earth,

the sediment of years

in multi-colored layers;

only then might it become someone’s treasured

inspiring wonder,

or…

it could be the same,

through and through,

a dull disappointment tossed away,

ground to unknowable

dust.

 

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