Within Great Stones

On a trail down to the hidden cove

and one along the mountain river,

the brown earth and rolling sea

spoke to us the way they did;

I listened and hoped, later

pounding grief into sand,

giving ocean back her tears,

blaming myself

for the web soft and wet

that bound me to what hurt

against the movement of the tide.

To free another one must free oneself,

a godlike act, for where is freedom born

but within great stones

and the pulse that breathes upon the sea?

Your narrow footsteps mark the earth,

a trace the deer avoid,

the sadness of all you denied

filling the cove with salt

while seals bark in the rising mist,

darkness settles onto the gravel beach,

the old trees remembering, forgiving.


12 Responses to “Within Great Stones”

  1. Louis MacKenzie says:

    This is quite excellent. Personal yet so much more. With your permission I may use this semester in my seminar here at Notre Dame.

  2. Eleanor GillMilner says:

    Lovely, Don. I am going to share this with my daughter, who goes to Pacific City whenever she can. We humans are truly part of this earth, aren’t we? There is a great sadness that comes from separating ourselves from the natural world.

  3. Ron Laws says:

    through those places of deep saddness and loving joy-
    I hear the voices of those old trees, having seen many like myself
    walking in the soil of their soul
    saying thankyou to a brother for his heart felt word

  4. Lloyd Meeker says:

    Beautiful, Don, and so true. For me freedom and forgiveness both are born out of the great stones that remain in my heart. As they crack and surrender to the pounding sea, I walk my gravel beach, learn humility, forgive even myself. It’s a fine place for honest tears…

    You do powerful work through these poems, Don. I know they help me.

  5. Keith Hancock says:

    Thank goodness for the trees!

  6. I’ve slipped by to visit many times, Don, but left no footprints until now.

    I think of your poem postings like paintings on museum walls: I stand and look and admire, letting your breezes move my heart. Your words touch and remind and, at times, poke, and I silently thank you.

  7. Bill Dare says:

    Thanks Don, for the reminder to listen to the trees forgiveness. Love ya.


  8. This is a very moving poem. I like that I cannot put my finger on it or say anything brilliant, it just captures the beauty of life as a great poem does. Thanks Don.

  9. Pichay says:

    I cremate a sad marriage on Tuesday. Many drops added to the Mekong.
    Thank you, Don

  10. Hmmm difficulty level is high on this one!
    I’m not liking the impersonal pronoun “one” because it distances the reader. Why not “me”?
    i’d rethink “roil.”
    The shift in verb tense is confusing at the end.
    Also at the end, try:
    old trees remembering, forgive.

    That said, I LOVE what you’re doing with what Robert Bly called “leaping poetry.” Esp. the jump from speaking and listening to “pounding.” That’s an unexpected and intense leap that spirals fast and hard down into the rocky soul of this poem. In this poem, I feel very much in a masculine place more felt than understood, but the stones, symbol of the soul, as Jung taught us, hold me in place with their gravitas. Here the hero descends…

  11. Your style is really unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I’ll just book mark this page.

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