Sunday, November 10, 2013

a pendant reaches across the millennia

a touch of the shaping

as I cross to our outbuilding to put something in?
take something out? I can’t remember,
my eye catches a hint of form,
the form echoes a piece of wood 
that swivels around a nail,
a common trick to hold a door closed, 
or release it to open,

I pick it up with mild interest,
I like to appreciate the natural world and its patterns
and to appreciate finding what shapes don’t fit in,
I feel human touch in a path, the placing of rocks,
bits of metal, glass, ceramic on the land,
any fragments of earlier stories
that, like the memories of the Library at Alexandria,
remind us that today was preceded by yesterdays,
each full of purpose and effort
that draw us but which we can touch 
no more than to hold a ghost,

in my hand an artifact reveals itself, 
a gray flat-backed shaped piece of soapstone,
in the basic form of a native spearpoint,
blunted off at the end,
a perfectly formed round hole right in the middle,
a carved indented neck so that leather string can hold it
as it could lie against the bosom to adorn, to protect, to remember?

I imagine the long, long years this pendant
rests atop sandy topsoil above piedmont clay,
here on this hill that first found a modern house half a century ago,
here where I’ve found spearpoints that reach toward
the first times humans found and appreciated
how the world could hold them here for a time,

I ache to know the man or woman who stood here with this pendant
and I ache to know what it meant for him, for her,

a local expert at the state university writes that they have never seen its like
in all the painstakingly recovered, preserved, 
and catalogued artifacts from the last 10,000 or so years,
my best guess is that around 8000 years ago 
the pendant was made, worn, and lost,

I honor the maker,
the craftsman, the artist,
and I seek for him,
I think he still lives in how he was able 
to take his vision and write in stone what mattered to his soul,
and who now speaks to me through the pendant that still is,
and that lies in my hand, in my heart, and in my soul.

by Henry H. Walker
November 3, ’13


Susan Wells said...

Oooooo! I'm so glad there are pictures too. And I can see clearly the dent in the bottom of the pendant. And your yard. Filled with so many happy times.

Unknown said...

Wow! Just saw this. Incredible!