Posted by: Peadar Ban | May 22, 2009

Stone Will Stay

I built a stair into the hillside using tools I had,
An old red handled shovel, a mattock and my two hands.
Granite scraps rescued from piles of refuse
Once curb stone, pitted, stained, worn from over use
I gathered, carried home to lay down
Next to the oak that at the corner stands.
I thought to let shade covered granite lie
Enduring little more than chipmunks passing by
A smallish child, a shy petal laid just so,
A falling maple leaf, final
Simple whiteness of snow
On a cold and quiet night,
Or my wife and I in evening silence
With only memory for light.

When these words and I are gone away,
Chipmunk, child, petal, leaf,
Last snow’s whiteness, man and wife,
Long memory’s soft light
Hill and stair and stone will stay.

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Responses

  1. Hill and stair and stone will stay
    For one thousand years, or a day
    Who knows that if in His sight, they may?
    For all the world but fades away

  2. Hill and stair and stone will stay
    As long as God wills they may.
    No more may any good man seek
    Unless he find him up a creek
    Where boat, nor paddle will avail
    The one who seeking finds him hell.

    Or something…

  3. I think we need a little break from this hell thing…we are starting to sound like Calvinists…then again, perhaps Calvin made some good points…nevertheless….’He who seeks, finds…’….take THAT, Calvin…

    • Hello Jan,

      Taking it to another level one asks if can..or ought to..give ourselves, ever, a break from hell. I suppose when do that only when we are thinking about the other three things. I know nothing about Calvin beyond his name, but from what I’ve heard of him he was intelligent. I suppose he didn’t spend enough time on “life” and “heaven”.

  4. I like this one best, without the line “chipmunk, child, petal, leaf”

  5. Good Morning,

    Thank you. Perhaps I should re-write it. Several someone’s do find difficulty with the word chipmunk. But, I am simply describing what takes place on the stair. There is a long lived family (colony?) of chipmunks in a little stone wall I built…very badly years ago…next to the stairs, and the come and go up and down them all the time. And, of course, petals and leaves in turn fall, and snow, too, and memory. My children and grandchildren played in the yard, so they deserve a place.

    Perhaps, if I place a colon at the end of the first line, and a period at the end of the next to last one, things will clear up.

    It seems to me that it’s either all of them or none, as in my first version.

  6. When these words and I are gone away
    Chipmunk, child, petal, leaf,
    Snow’s final whiteness, man and wife,
    Long memory’s soft light
    Hill and stair and stone will stay.

    I would be happy with that, instead of a tombstone, to mark my passing, so I would

    • Hello Alys,
      And, thank you. I wonder now where the practice of headstones came from, and remember searching through the Gate of Heaven Cemetery outside New York City for my father’s grave. My daughter, now in her forties, was a toddler and enjoyed standing on her grandfather’s belly as he lay at rest…the very same thing I’d done years before at her age atop my grandfather’s grave…to my father’s great amusement.

      We buried the family cat out on the hill not far from the stone steps. Atop the place where all her bones have gone to dust stands the little statue of St. Francis as her memorial. I’d find it comfortable, indeed, to rest there with the much loved and well traveled Princess Tinkerbelle Q. Pussycat.


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