Lee Upton


The How And Why Of Rocks And Minerals - Poem by Lee Upton

And these others—what are they?
Not dolomite, sandstone, shist or calcite.
I might include ice—the colorless mineral,
if ice stayed ice.
But what is this one? Some go nameless,
do not look like their pictures.
This stingy lump, this once hot magma?
This is our whole cause
of trouble over arithmetic.
Now crack two of these together.
Fire won't start.
I've tried it.
How about this? The bad stone,
the go-to-work stone,
the stone in a uniform.
He wants to look just like the other stones.
But what would you call my new stone?
Nameless, anonymous,
this dark stone.
Do we think it will teach anyone
the name of the mountain
all these stones rolled down from?
To see the pool of water inside the gem?
Or is this the blarney stone,
what we get for our kisses,
for not knowing our rocks from our minerals.
This rock has a spot in it, so smooth
it is the start of the first quarry,
that zoo of rocks, the untamed, distant rocks,
the rocks that make us nervous.
On the Scale of Hardness we're talc.
But this is not fool's gold,
not banker's gold either,
our love stamped on it.
If this rock could talk I know it would
be quiet. Not a stupid rock,
this one we love.
The loudest stones of history,
they are sand now.


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Read poems about / on: history, together, work, water, fire, dark, kiss



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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