A Broken Stone – a poem by Thomas R. Smith

A Broken Stone


…..The stone has several walls, at least eight or nine depending on how you count certain angled declivities. To further confuse matters, some are dark and some are light, as if a shell or veneer of a rusty tan color has been shucked or shocked from the stone’s exterior to reveal a thoroughgoing darkness.
…..On closer examination it’s evident that the stone’s interior gloom isn’t unrelieved. Tiny glittering particles like sawdust or brown snow swirl the night sky of the stone. At this point the eye asks what exactly it’s seeing: primordial organisms swimming in the first dark ocean? intimations of galaxies beyond counting in the farthest range of our best telescopes?
…..Ask instead which vision best suits the human scale. The answer: something in-between, light flecks lying upon the face of the darkness as grass seed lies scattered on black soil. As if some greenness is waiting to grow there.
…..Held between the thumb and fingers, the stone undergoes a miraculous transformation, as though a premonition of an entirely different existence it may know after being broken down, the ultimate end of all stone, reduced to the life-giving grains of mineral nourishment a grass-root can absorb.
…..To those who despair of the hardness of certain hearts and fates in the present moment, I say: One day even this stone will become a nurturer of grass.


Thomas R. Smith lives in Wisconsin, USA, and have seven published collections so far, and was included in DIAMOND CUTTERS, edited by Jay Ramsay and Andrew Harvey. He has also edited several books, most recently AIRMAIL, the correspondence of Robert Bly and Tomas Tranströmer, published in the UK by Bloodaxe. WINDY DAY AT KABEKONA: NEW AND SELECTED PROSE POEMS is forthcoming in the Autumn.

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