Ode to A Rock (On a Bedside Table)

Ode to a Rock (on a Bedside Table)

You’re heavier than
your grey,
and so rounded
you’d pass for a stone
if rolled some way.

And I (meaning me)
could use you, my husband says one night,
to throw at the forehead of
a gunman, knock
him out.

This casts you
in a somewhat different light–
no longer an oversized bite
of forest floor, something to hold open
a door,
but a possible means of deliverance
like the rock rolled away
from the tomb.
Only not.

For I’m not sure gunmen are swayed
by rocks, certainly not rocks
of faith, ages–

Hard to understand
even when your heft
weighs down my hand
that you will outlast its flesh–
that all our individual flash
will transmute to dust, ash,
while the wind still feeds on you–

So, life seems to pass faster
than a speeding bullet for some,
while for others, it is taken away
at exactly
that pace–

A draftish poem of sorts for my own prompt on Real Toads to make an ode to something relatively quotidian.  This one, of course, is very influenced by the horrible tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina, this past week, at the Emmanuel African Methodist Church. 

I’ve edited this since first posted, as the end didn’t quite get across the meaning I was aiming for.  Thanks. k. 

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23 Comments on “Ode to A Rock (On a Bedside Table)”

  1. Sanaa Rizvi Says:

    This is brilliant.. loved these lines:

    This casts you
    in a somewhat different light–
    no longer an oversized bite
    of forest floor, something to hold open
    a door,

    Excellent write 😀

    Lots of love,

  2. Oh.. you should never underestimate the force of the rock, even if I guess the gunman feels invincible which is exactly why guns should be far from people’s hands.

  3. Sage Says:

    I love these sections:

    “no longer an oversized bite
    of forest floor, something to hold open
    a door,
    but a possible means of deliverance
    like the rock rolled away
    from the tomb.
    Only not.”

    “faith, ages–
    Hard to understand
    even when your heft
    weighs down my hand”

    The ending … well, the whole piece, actually. 😛 This is really wonderful.

  4. This has a lovely pace – a nice pondering poem that builds in intensity and thought. Are you sure this is a draft?

  5. X Says:

    Life does seem to pass by way too fast — and is as unpredictable as our neighbor. I like how you equate deliverance through bashing and intruder with a rock to the rock that rolled away. Ha.

    All too sad though what has happened in SC.

  6. Sumana Roy Says:

    really like what the rock triggers…a deeply touching poem…

  7. hedgewitch Says:

    Your contemplations of this rock’s nature are so mirrored in a contemplation of mortality, sentience and perhaps even purpose that each line and turn of original phrase is its own complete heiroglyph, symbol of so much more than what it says. Really an excellent use of language in this as well, k (flesh, flash,dust,ash.) I have a small hand-axe by my bedside for self-defense–I don’t think it partakes as much of the soul of anything as this stone.

    • hedgewitch Says:

      On a second reading,k, I think your meaning is a lot clearer–rather wooly-headed yesterday, I’m afraid–and also the edit in the last lines helps, but you do definitely set it up in the third and fourth stanzas, that sense of how little protection we have, even in the nature of the earth itself. Anyway, I think the tenuous play of that ambiguity makes the poem stronger.

      • ManicDdaily Says:

        Thanks. I am sure the change helps a lot, especially since pace is a rather odd word. I like it okay for now because of the resonance with pass, and span (in terms of distance) as well as speed, but it may not be the clearest word in this context. Thanks again for your help. k.

        On Mon, Jun 22, 2015 at 9:11 AM, ManicDDaily wrote:


  8. Grace Says:

    I am amaze how that one rock can bring forth such reflections…it reminds me of story of David & Goliath ~ Indeed it will outlast us, inevitably ~ Thanks for the lovely challenge K and all the best to the wedding ~

  9. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    an oversized bite
    of forest floor… this is an excellent way of changing the viewpoint of the rock from object to something ageless and perhaps slightly out of place beside the bed. I also like the way you suggest that it will outlast the one who collected it, perhaps all of humanity and still remain.

  10. Wow..I moved through a few emotions while reading your ode. What appeared ordinary became humorous, protective and then vulnerable.

  11. Jim Says:

    Goliath wasn’t deterred by David’s rock either, until it hit in his head. Not sure though, that I would carry a rock to church with me, just in case.
    BTW, I have a few rocks around. They have meaning. To them and to me.
    Best wishes for the wedding. Will we be seeing your “Mother-of-the-bride’s” pretty dress?

  12. Mama Zen Says:

    This is tremendously well done, K. It moves effortlessly from small to large effortlessly, and the close is really outstanding.

  13. Candy Says:

    A powerful message lies in your simple rock.

  14. M Says:

    thoughtful, K ~

  15. lynn__ Says:

    Wow…this good stuff; simple, yet profound.

  16. C.C. Says:

    So very poignant and beautifully worded.

  17. lolamouse Says:

    Your playful rhyming at first makes the poem seem like just a fun ode to a rock. But as one reads further, you capture the seriousness of protection, fear, morality, and death. Very well done!

  18. I appreciate the way this starts out small/light and ends big/heavy…excellent shift. Thank you, for the challenge, Karen…sorry for being so late…I couldn’t pass it up and finally got some time. 🙂

  19. A beautiful, meditative piece. I really enjoyed it. Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

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