Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Song of the Lithophyte

Song of the Lithophyte

As the heavy centuries have passed
their light repeating strokes across creation,
flowing the veils of earth at last
from a millennium’s striation
yet working only on the surface of the whole,

so, subtle tireless and remote
the long years have washed you,
put here a line upon your curving throat,
there in your dark hair a mica hue,
but pause now as the work draws near your soul.

A green airy growth lives inside each crack
the weathered rock turns upward to the sun.
The rain that slices inward to the bone
reveals its solemn involuted knack
of being rich in what all else may shun,
thriving on the rind of true alone.

As the hand of man has served
to carve a quicker gore than windblown sand
toward the ore the hillside hides reserved,
so your face is mined by your own hand.
The channels there were cut by salted tears,
and not the wayward miners of the years.

Your face was markless once beside the river
where we lay in harmony of mind.
Downstream the nuclear fire could not deliver
half the power there for us to find.

Firefly light made weedy shadows vast
where the vapor of the meadow burned
with heatless fire.
In the timestream’s flux we put a mast,
round which the planetary sails billowed and turned
at our desire.

As the wheel of centuries has made
chaos out of order, life from death;
as the crags and peaks where Moses prayed
were once the ballroom where the breath
that cuts them now to dust and ruin
was only known as seaweed’s dancing tune,

so now upon your face old thoughts parade
that I would sink deep roots in if I could
and end this lithophytic serenade
with soft sleep together in the green wood
and above us put the timeless firmament
at one with time’s and nature’s own intent.

June 1986

You can find some additional information about some of the elements in this poem here


  1. That had a very lyrical feel to it as I read it. You've created a very strong and clear image of your subject!


  2. This is so beautifully descriptive. I love a poem that has color and texture like this one does.


  3. Very good poem, it read like a song and I think it should be one! So you wrote it in 1986 wow :) it is still great!

  4. wow, 1986 is the year I went to college,
    love everything you write here.
    thanks for the sweet treat to Poets Rally.
    have fun!

  5. Great depiction from a point of view I would have never thought of. Kudos!

  6. 1986 is the year i was born, maybe one of the reason I like this one so much!
    Thanks for sharing :)

  7. Thanks all, for stopping by, and for making me realize how incredibly OLD I actually am, even if I feel like a babe in the woods most of the time. ;)

  8. lovely piece; i liked best your penultimate verse--"As the crags and peaks where Moses prayed
    Were once the ballroom where the breath
    That cuts them now to dust and ruin..." and then finishing with such a gentle ending... very nice.

    i also greatly appreciated the link with the additional info--thanks for both the background story and for saving me a trip to wiki for the meaning of "lithophyte." :)

  9. A mature, praise wothy write.. I read twice to see, how much in it was of me..

  10. awesome writing and scene creation. You strike at deep points

  11. Comment boxes can be limiting. I wish that you could see my face right now after reading and re-reading this piece. You'd see in a moment how much i enjoyed it, and felt it; not just surface deep.

  12. I came over today from The Friday Forgotten, I've already commented on the piece, above, but I wanted to say that it richly deserves to be set center stage again. And...no one else but you could have written this piece. You know that, right?

  13. this is a beautiful piece..the rhyme and image just wonderful...and the last verse - finding sleep in the green wood - likens to the ending of a perfect day....very nice....bkm

  14. Thank you for visiting The Friday Forgotten and linking your post. Your imagination and creativity should never lie dusty in a dark corner of your blog. We are happy to help clear away the cobwebs.

    I remember 1986 vividly but there is no way I could begin to describe a single event or place during that year as well as you have done here. Your poem is so vivid and wonderful. I enjoy how it shows we are all at the mercy of time and nature (no matter how pompous a society we are). Thank you for the back story link also.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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