Year 2, Day 1: A Song For the New Year

The Sec­ond Year of the Sec­ond Decade
of the 21st Cen­tury

A Song For the New Year
From A Shel­tered Place

I’ve stopped to watch a man skip­ping stones in a shel­tered cove
In a grace­ful angu­lar motion he takes each one then hurls it into the bay
I see only him and not the stones — he seems a gen­tly tex­tured man
With each one he moves in toward the water to help it take an extra hop
Crouch­ing by the shore he judges the dis­tance of the skip then begins again
His male­ness has a dan­ger­ous vul­ner­a­bil­ity and I will not let him go
Over and over he skips stones across the water in a pre-ordained rit­ual
Enor­mous pain and hap­pi­ness dance together in his eyes.

I won­der what the stones at once so heavy and so light mean to him
I think they are hope and death because that is what he is to me
I see Vir­ginia in another time putting other stones into her pock­ets
Not stones for skip­ping but for sink­ing. She sits at her desk
and then writes her last let­ter to him:
I’ve done the best I could, please for­give.’ And Leonard did.

Now he moves to the far end of the cove and casts the last stone
His mouth wide open in a mourn­ful scream but there is no sound
Count­ing 1–2-3–4-5–6-7 — 8 jumps it takes, the best stone of all
In a look of release not vic­tory he con­tin­ues on his way
He bows in trib­ute to an enor­mous absence he alone knows.

I wait for the arrival of the stone’s absolute absence
I desire that pre­cise moment when there is no trace of exis­tence
I think then of other absolutes: the pre­dictabil­ity of sink­ing
Of Vir­ginia, and of me
I think about this man and the bur­dens he car­ried in the stones
I won­der what fur­ther sor­rows he will yet dis­cover on his jour­ney
Across the rocky beach I wit­ness him mov­ing away from me
Despite his retreat I believe in him and that love exists in silence.

In soft dreams my own stones leave me with­out effort
Gath­er­ing them­selves from inside my heart they fly upward
And catch an osprey guard­ing his nest
Osprey misses noth­ing – he sees all our stones
He knows the dis­ap­pear­ing man and my heart­grief
In a flash of his wing­spread Osprey cov­ers me in shadow

He flies toward his nest, his home, his refuge, his duty
In oblig­a­tory exul­ta­tion of joy I watch him land
I look up to him and down to the water
Pos­sess­ing noth­ing I indulge a thought of enor­mous grat­i­tude
For this small event of last­ing mag­nif­i­cence
In my past resides a man in a shel­tered cove skip­ping stones
I sur­ren­der my stones and in an instant’s breath I release
Everyone’s stones and feel sud­denly and com­pletely … Alive.

©Alida Brill 2012


Filed under Hope, Inspiration, Life, Poetry, This Moment

3 Responses to Year 2, Day 1: A Song For the New Year

  1. What an amaz­ing poem of renewal on this first day of the new year! I am moved and inspired.

  2. Oh, this brought goose­bumps to me. So beau­ti­ful. So inspir­ing. The per­fect poem for this first day of a new year.

  3. I sur­ren­der my stones…‘
    Yes :-)

    … he seems a gen­tly tex­tured man …‘
    a gor­geous, evoca­tive phrase … makes me think of sev­eral such men I have known and loved …

    Thank you, Alida :-)

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