Edited by Dava Sobel
I name them Upright, Lengthwise, Split
Down the Middle: these granites strewn
like milky stars. You could orient by them, find
your way through creek, meadow, and wood.
This one is here, and that one is there, its neighbor
next to both, old friends grinding down shards
of philosophy. It could take a million years
to see the argument to conclusion, points
split finer and finer, rubbed to a sheen,
into pebbles, then to sand in an hourglass.
They record the course of floods, huddle
together beneath parent slopes where they
were wrenched and scraped by glaciers, shaped
and molded by teachers of ice, which explains
their patience and hardness, having been milled
so interminably slowly to an exacting rule.
Now they languish, sun seeping into feldspars
and micas, into the quartzes until they quiver
with pure excitation—in heat and cold, wind
and stillness, through minutes and millennia—
and still radiate impassiveness.