Jan. 6: Slow stories

Stones are very slow stories with secret memories of fire inside.
—John Tarrant

In this first month of a new year
pick up a stone—perhaps one
that calls to you, perhaps one
you picked up some time ago and
kept for a reason you can’t recall.

Pick up your stone, feeling,
for the moment, that it somehow
is meant for you, letting it warm
your hand. If you hold it long
enough, one hand covering
the other, close your eyes
and smile, the stony memory
of fire bringing a tiny puddle
of heat to your palm.

Sit with that fire.
Sit with the slow story
of your stone, letting it unravel
like a knitted thing, filling
your hands with kinked yarn,
its secret, flaming memories
given to you to hold, gently,
the warmth of something you
thought lifeless and mute
infusing you.

Accept the gifts your stone
has laid in your hands;
they are yours to carry into
the year spread before you.
Walk into what comes next,
scattering stories, maybe
a song or two, like pebbles
you offer to other hands
that will hold the secret fire
and share it with anyone,
with everyone, who needs it.

(Thanks to Jennifer Cox, Christie Domasky, Julie Woodside and Kathy Laharty for your good listening in my online writing group that helped shape this poem!)

(Photo / Jan Haag)

About janishaag

Writer, writing teacher, editor
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