Monday, May 11, 2009

Time Pressing

I pick a pebble from the waterline;
cut through with its stripe of quartz it catches my eye.
Wetness picks out the black
and light glints the silica stippled in the sun.
If it were a fish it would be glistening;
it would gasp for water and slip from my grasp
quicker than I could catch a grab at it.

Not a million miles from here but in a million years
it has traced an existence,
pressed from previous sedimentary incarnations:
Ground, weathered, stirred in spate,
settled in calmer waters to fall and lie
with grains of common size and mass,
overlain by successive pressings.

Then forced up to be torn and cracked
fractured and beaten, bouldered, smashed and frosted,
split, baked and chipped off the block to be
tossed, jostled, smoothed round and graded, until
flipped flat at my feet it catches my eye,
cut through with its stripe of quartz:
for the first time subject to desire.

My want to possess is weighed for once
in the light of mindfulness.
Out of its element, dead in my hand,
is the power to suspend geological time.
Human time, though insignificant, has no respect
for the greater achievement that the grinding cycle of ages
has the dumb patience to achieve;

I place the stone as near to where I found it.
Gathered by the backwash,
waves gives gravity to the gesture.
Not having long to linger
I turned from the pull of the sea
and pressed for time
I left.

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