As It Was In The Beginning

These hard knobs emanate a different energy:
prostrate on the granite whaleback
its pocked skin eroded by driven rain
comes a calm, an ancient knowing
never present in karst transience.

The fire is quieter now
a steady background click
thorium signature
beneath the chiseled names
of long dead stonecutters.

Few are left who read the rockman's braille
who know the heft of maul on feldspar
feathers and wedge in antediluvian cracks.
It's progress, of course,
diesel knives and diamond saws
to shear the stone, not sledges and sweat;
still something's lost--an artisan's pride
the gnarled marks of a job well done
scrawled on tomb and cobblestone
the musical ringing of steel on rock
silenced in a scoop shovel's hum.

For now the enemies have dwindled:
only wind and time
lichens and rain.

Copyright 1998 Jo Schaper

Back to Poetry Index Page