What To Do With A Stone

Twenty-one years ago I sat on the beach at Clevedon, picked up a pebble and held it in the palm of my hand. I was enthralled. Maybe that's where this poem came from.

If this is it, then this is good enough,
Isn't it? If this is all there is, the be-all
And the end-all.
That stone there, that one,
The one you've kicked into the weeds,
That is a miracle.
Pick it up and study
Its landscape, its bare pock-marked greys,
Scrutinize its palm of purple veins,
And plains hazed with miniscule mosses,
Its tufts of tiny yellow brilliance;
Slide your finger slowly over
Its crevices and plateaus.
Know the stone,
As far as possible momentarily.
Isn't that wonderful now? Is it not enough?

And if there were nothing other than this stone,
No hills to lift our eyes to, no horizon,
Should we not still be satisfied?

When you are done please hand the stone to me
And watch what I do with it. See how
I hold it like a jewel to the light,
Turn it, tilt it, smell it, stretch my tongue
And slowly lick its bitter surfaces.
Then place it carefully, wholly, in my mouth.

© David Collins April 23rd 2012