Archive for September 25th, 2014

Seven Stones

anne bullwinkel


Walk the half mile to the pond
through the low wooded hills.

Do not look for flat stones to skip.

You will miss too much:

the morning light riding the cool air

down through the trees

the chipmunk crossing your path

the last jewel weed blossoms
the fading asters and goldenrod.

Wait for a stone to call you.

Seven stones will beckon

one a near-perfect triangle.

At the clearing by the water
between the silver maple and the sassafras
the green leaves touched with gold

Stand still

Breathe deep.

Watch the stillness of the pond.

See the small fish in the clear water.

Breathe deep.

When quiet

weigh the stone in your hand
sift it
feel it.

Find the place
where your index finger
fits the contour
to give the most spin

with a sidearm throw.

Breathe deep

and as near the surface as you can
let it fly.

One skip or two or four or seven
or none at all

stand still

breathe deep.

Watch the ripples


and break

forming patterns
on the water
under the water
colors changing

everything changing

instant to instant

breath to breath

the bright moving circles on the surface
reflected leaves
gold and green

The lines of light

where the sun washes through
to the earth beneath
the water.


until the circles calm
the interplay quiets

and all is resolved

into one still


Breathe deep.

til seven stones are thrown

the triad last.

Gaze at the water
until undisturbed.

Breathe deep.

Return now

pausing to pray
before you leave.


Painting by Ann Bullwinkel

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The Difficult Art


Poetry is the most difficult art.

Every other art allows adequacy: the readable but forgettable prose, the landscape painting that is pleasing without being original or brilliant, the pot thrown with a modicum of skill.

Not poetry. A poem is either good or it is crap, and most often the erstwhile poet is the last to know.

I wrote poetry a lot when I was young, mostly in a sort of ecstatic utterance. I never rewrote or edited. How it came out is how it remained. I was too close to it to know if it was brilliant or crap, though it all felt brilliant when I was writing it. When I look at it now it is clear that most of it was the latter, with but a few keepers.

I have recently begun writing poetry again, after about twenty years. Most of it is of the ‘ecstatic utterance’ persuasion, love poems to my bride, but I have been working on one poem lately, rewriting, trying to get it just right.

This is new, poetry as a process instead of an outburst. When I have finished -I am having trouble with the ending- I will post it here. I am also posting it on my so-called secret blog, the one with my name in the web address. That, I have decided, will be a place for poetry and memoirs, and anything too personal will just remain a draft, unpublished. I will post a link to that site when I post the poem.

I sincerely desire feedback, honest feedback, on my effort.

If you have ever asked me to read and critique something you have written you know that I will be honest. I will not flatter you but offer what I think about it.

I can’t tell you how many feelings I have hurt by doing this. Most often after I return an edited manuscript I never hear from the writer again.

So I can take it. And if you think I should stick to prose please tell me.

Poem to follow…

Painting by Paul Ranson


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