Monday, 20 November 2017

The Flight of the Stone

(a poem)

It is a truth self evident that
stones do not fly.  They may roll around a bit,
they pile up to make cairns,
or even mountains, but they
do not fly. Or at least,
not on their own.

Stones do not have wings.
Birds have wings, as do butterflies.
Angels are supposed to have wings,
though none were visible on the angels I’ve met.
Bats, moths, mosquitoes, night flying things  -
these all have wings. Stones do not.

Stones may fly up from the mouth
of a volcano, or perhaps bowl along at the breath
of a hurricane wind. But mostly
stones fly when people throw them.
And that’s all right when they are (say)
skimming stones from the beach.

But in general, I think,
people throw stones to hurt
other people, to drive them away,
to shut them up. Pity the poor stone,
which is not in any way malevolent, and
just wants to lie there, maybe roll around a bit.

Here is a stone: thousands of years have
made it what it now is: see the streaks of colour,
feel its smoothness, let it lie in your hand.
And then place it reverently down
where it will be pleased to sit. Respect it, and
don’t make it fly.

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