My hands know the sadness of rock,
of unfinished lines and rough

sides tapering to sharpness.
The shape of solitude, turning.

Now the stones fall as water,
a woman lets down her hair

and laughter chokes through silence.
Into this dream I ascend.



36 thoughts on “Hail

  1. Pingback: Hail | Celfypridd

  2. So, with your rock’s sublimation into water (and the ensuing “falling up”), I’m now thinking about a realization I had recently — that bone is no less tissue in its own right than flesh… But what constitutes the difference in both cases? Under what circumstances do hands learn the rock’s sadness? Loneliness? The expectation that they ought to be something in particular, or worse, that not enough is expected of them? I like the thought-path this piece invites.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The obvious answer is the difference lies in the ways they manifest. But that’s a simplistic view. As for the rock’s sadness, perhaps the poet is projecting his own little sadness – in this case, a realization of limitation, that working with stone – building stacked rock walls, etc., is no longer viable (one needs good knees). So the rock learns the hands’ sadness. Or not. But such is the path of that first line.

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    • Perhaps the hands know the sadness of rock as the flesh knows the sadness of bone. Bone performs with the body as rock performs with earth, spacing and separating flesh to maximize synchrony, expressing intention, a harmony of elements…and values. So the face of earth changes as rock ages, changes contour, records time. The slow symphony of unending bardo.

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      • “spacing and separating flesh to maximize synchrony, expressing intention, a harmony of elements…and values.”


        The intention of inviting space — so hard for bone, particularly when flesh insists on advancing its own, often maladaptive ideas! But definitely not impossible, as I’m coming to learn slowly but surely through studying Alexander Technique — constitutes the difference between embracing change and attempting to defy it, and ultimately sets the tone for how we inhabit the “unending bardo” of our bodies.
        Sadness can be that quality in us which either acknowledges pain, mourns, and then participates in necessary (a.k.a. unavoidable) change, or experiences pain as the void of purgatory. Sir Robert’s poem speaks to the former, I think!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This really brought me back to my rock climbing days and a particular week spent climbing in Yosemite. One of the beauties of a poem is how it evokes unique personal reactions, I see this as I compare mine to those of others in the comments.

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  4. This is such a unique poem. Strange but beautiful picture created in my mind. It makes me think. Keep writing, I love your prose and look foward to reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

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