To create is likewise to give a shape to one's fate — Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus
Cool freshets spilling from stone to stone,
pools deep as thought,
the immense beyond of ocean,
a warm couch of sand . . .
All that the bright world holds,
This stone is my wife.
My hands have given it a waist.
It has given me this calloused flesh,
this chalky horn upon my palm,
mark of a working man.
I work alone,
shaping my curse,
honing it: a tool for raising stone.
Fitting it for what lets me live this death
with purpose; there was a time
I would not have thought it could be so.
I loved the red suns, the blue mists of Earth,
the long green reach of trees,
her creatures feral and quick,
the tribes in their camps.
I wanted light and life and Earth.
That passion earned me this,
this gift, a stone.
A stone, yes, but I have made it mine.
They thought that it would crush me.
For a time I thought it had: mind and body
wed to rock, pushing that weight to the summit
day after day, eating the dust of the path
till the spit of your mouth is clay in your throat.
And never an end to it — the mindless task.
With every lumbering turn, the stone grew.
Fed on desire and regret, the stone grew.
In that night's sky with no light above
the cold moon of my grasp,
I set my will, embracing all of this —
I set my will and said, Now do your worst!
And knew I'd gone beyond myself:
It was enough.
About the Author: Faye George's poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, Yankee, Audubon's Sanctuary, and many other journals, magazines, and anthologies. She is the author of two poetry collections, A Wound on Stone and Back Roads, and two chapbooks, Only the Words and Naming the Place. George has received the Arizona Poetry Society's Memorial Award, the New England Poetry Club's Gretchen Warren Award and Erika Mumford Prize, among other honors; and her work is represented in Poetry magazine's 90th year retrospective, The Poetry Anthology, 1912–2000. She lives in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.
Copyright © 2008 by Faye George. The poem above will appear in George's forthcoming collection, Marchenhaft, Earthwind Editions and may not be reproduced in any form without the author's express written permission.