Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Each Word a Rock

I don't recall the title of the poem, but the words have stuck with me since high school. I'm fairly certain it was David Wagoner, a poet who settled north of me in Washington. Somewhere in boxes of old papers maybe the writing project I turned in at 15, or was it 16... My own poetry, some artwork of mine, and poems I felt a connection to.

Each word a rock
The size of a fist.

I throw them one by one
At the dark window.

That was all, those thin, unadorned lines. I cannot find reference to this anywhere on the Internet and will dig around at the library this week to see if I can track it down to confirm. Maybe I'll be posting later this week I have the writer entirely incorrect or someone will correct me via a comment. What is important is how these words stuck with me through the past couple of decades.

The image of each word being a rock has especially stuck with me. My mind goes to how some of our words are tiny pebbles, a vast scattering of "and", "or", "the" and countless "ahs", "ums" and "ohs". Vast stone crags of Hope and basalt columns of Courage. Bits of jagged words like Shame and Fear, cutting like obsidian.

Today started a little writing challenge in my Sangha - to write and post a poem a day for the next 30 days. The goal is to just write, not to judge not to weigh and compare, just to share this practice together.

I started with an homage to this spare poem that has stayed in my mind all these years. Funny how writing poetry brings my inner critic front and center, loudly. Writing the occasional haiku has felt easy, but there always has been something about free verse that feels more revealing than anything else. I found myself looking at the first poem for the project finding it lacking in grace and style, excessive and pretentious. Feeling the anxiousness brought on by the harsh comments of my inner critic I posted a new poem to the site dedicated to collecting the works of this friendly challenge to go deeper into the practice of writing.

Stone Words

“Each word a rock…”

Another poet’s words
Read when I was young.

My words,
Now grown older,
Are like the geology
Of this place.
Shaped by water
and by fire.
Explosive energy
And cold, silent rain.

Words like the shoreline which
Reaches out to meet the
Constant change of ocean
With fingers of stone and
Pebbles strewn high and low.
A trove of glimmering
Words murmuring together.

Comments (1) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Although this poem is obviously about you and your poetry (and I think we once wrote one together) It some how reminds me of a beach in Scotland along the St. Andrew’s golf course. that I visited when I was 16 al thought I know that sand is the result of years of erosion and pebbles and stones are probably evidence of a “younger” part of the beach it felt so much older than the California beaches I had so much more knowledge of.

Leave a comment

No trackbacks yet.