Water Like A Stone
By Angela Leighton
Christmas, a cold day—
and lost to ourselves in a windless heaven
with all that story fallen away
(peace and goodwill, a baby in the hay)
we walk uphill from the world’s quarrelling,
our company, weather—
true cosmopolitan fetched from elsewhere,
drifter-stranger, and we together
following the night’s sketchy snow for a trail
to the late moon’s uplands, one step away,
reach a small shore—
water polished to a drumskin of ice,
where each skimmed stone knocks for a door
to leave, but skips, teasing with repeats,
its note multiplying birds of nowhere.
It’s as if you heard
creation’s chip skidding high and clear
over glacial wastes, and imagined a bird—
one, then another—voiced from sound waves,
shivered from the physics of touch and air.
My one last throw . . .
A stone to try this basin of iced rain,
the tarn’s soundboard struck accelerando
to scatter, for luck, a kerfuffle of bird notes—
and win a love song from the earth’s deep cold.