Rocks Grew in the Fields

rocks grew in the fields in the spring:

this was not a wonder; ice moving in earth

clenching and releasing them, pushed them

into the light over generations;

nor was the new calf left for dead

under the trees a wonder;

but another thing revealed

by the passage of seasons,

the long sky with its windy clouds slung low

over the fields; the earth;

the dirt giving these things to the air;

a rough rock against the fingertips,

cold moist earth on its underside,

and coming upon that folded up thing,

dried, stinking where new growth was starting.

neither of these marvels: there was work to do.


picking rocks, we followed a flatbed wagon pulled

by a tractor; chugging along in the cold april air, the stones

rattling on the wood; until it was full and we drove

to the edge and tossed them onto

a pile that grew year by year, with the trees growing around

them; and year by year more rocks.

though the carcass of that calf disappeared before too long

in the way of living things; buds to leaf, stubble over

cold packed dirt into long hay, blue bells, daisies;

the calf gone and no wonder to it,

though a discolouration in the grass that grew from beneath,

fed either on its young sweet blood

or its rot, the enduring stain

of its ceasing to be.

Published online January 01 2010.

At the Root of Voice cover image

This piece was published in ‘At the Root of Voice,’ the Winter 2010 issue of CV2.

Get more great poetry, interviews, and reviews delivered straight to your door four times a year. Subscribe now.