Wednesday, December 25, 2019

old stones, and me

suffer with memory

can old stones suffer with memory?
a Ute prayer contends they do,
for a rock holds itself
while the world changes, 
diminishes, around it,
it endures,
all my life I’ve watched a patch of lichen 
on a big rock in the creek by our cabin,

         Note lichen patch above, above lower white water.

it has grown but in a time scale I can’t even perceive,
what hope have I to know a rock, and its memory?

we, too, can suffer with memory,
if we endure while those we love do not,
my parents and my brothers,
my wife’s parents and her sister,
my aunts and my uncles, my former students,
are still with me as memories,
but the hurt of the loss beggars the sweetness of the memories,

I am a child compared to trees 
I have known, loved, and lost:

one great poplar, the last of its generation,
drew me to her every year or so,
and now she’s gone,
one great beech, just up from our cabin,
was a friend and teacher,
a creator of awe in me,
and its time, too, came,
in the family I’m the one to record the stories, 
to remember the elders,
and I suffer with the memories.

by Henry H. Walker
December 20, ‘19

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