Concerto for Rocks: A Poem

©2014 By Bob Litton



No, I can’t hear. Hear what?

The wind yonder among those rocks,

how it bends them with sound

so like a single strum on a guitar —

lightly, yet strong.

Its will will not be thwarted;

it will force the rocks to sing.


The Encompassing Panorama


The cliffs here create a canyon

that meanders like a dry river.


Through valleys and canyons amid the mountains

our highway winds; cliffs beside

and precipices beside

dictate our path.

The view taunts, humiliates, our vision’s periphery,

now enlarging, now enclosing at each bend in the road.

So far the valleys extend this way and that,

a cliff only crowds us.

What vista looms at our back?

Why can’t we encompass the sight?

It sticks out so at each end,

like an unwieldy box we try to wrap.

Nothing to frame the scene:

No moulding, no cornice to contain a wild gone wild.


Eternality of the Rocks


How can one love a rock?

Why call a pile of frozen lava “beautiful”?

Forever resides in the rock: the dead lies eternal.

So, is that its pull?

That the rock was here millennia before us

and will remain millennia after?

Its silence is contemptuous.

Yet, I almost want to hug it.

My soul yearns for the rocks,

and as much for the trees.

The sunlight gives such form to the stone!

Without that highlighting

there is no scenery!

We give these rocks names

as a way to control the rocks

or to direct ourselves.

We must know where we are:

Being lost is a dizziness we can’t tolerate!

The other side is hidden unless we walk around;

and then this is hidden, unpossessed.

A total view might make the rocks immortal,

do you suppose?


Mysticality, Reverence and Awe


Aeroplanes penetrate the red and blue heaven —

high above, leaving their white vapor trails.

Such tiny planes and their puny effort to invade heaven,

too miniscule even for a laugh.

Cacti and juniper cling to the mountainsides,

leaving their own shadow trails.

There’s no gauging the distance one from another:

They might as well be two-dimensional

since they have no real sizes.

And to right and left

the cacti and junipers continue on

without a comma even.

It is an expanse of green and brown and gray-blue

holding dominion over our eyes

which we cannot rescue.


Is the sublime divine?

It makes my heart ache with reverence

and quake with fear —


Was I here when the boulders were bubbles of flow?

Somehow? Any how?

They ridicule me with their dumbness.


Fragility and Mortality of Man


They make me fall away, fall back upon myself —

Looking outward so far

forces me to look inward too deep —

Are these the only choices?

Outward into a vast desolation,

inward into a vast desolation?


I am not a rock: I move, I love, I die.

My mortality is always apparent; not so the rocks’.

I know rain wears the rocks away: I’ve been told.

But each day’s shaving shows me a fissuring face:

I can see my slow death; not the rocks’.







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