PF: The Weight of Stones

Each week Margaret Simon shares a photograph on her blog and invites people to respond with a short poem. (She took up the mantle for this weekly challenge from Laura Purdie Salas who originally called it, 15 Words or Less Poems.) Margaret’s version is called, This Photo Wants to be a Poem. (You can read her most recent post here. ) For our September Inkling challenge, Margaret asked us to chose any photo she’d shared and respond in poetry.

A few weeks ago Margaret highlighted this photo of a striped rock from the Salish Sea. The picture was taken by her sister-in-law, Julia, and shared on Instagram. (You can read responses to the photo here.)

I didn’t have time to respond in the moment, but later I stumbled upon Donna Smith’s response on her Facebook page. After her post, she exchanged a few comments with Janet Clare about collecting rocks– talking about gathering rocks, deciding whether to keep them or whether to “just release them all back into the wild.” That final comment sparked my response, which went a bit long.

The Weight of Stones
*inspired by a FB comment from Donna Smith

The stones gasp
for water long since evaporated
and never replenished.
When did the joy 
of initial discovery 
(The color! The shape! The lines!)
fade to indifference?

Caged in their glass vases
these forgotten memories
of far-off places
gather dust.
Their vitality fades.

Do they mourn the lost warmth of sun
the clench of cold
the gentle wash of rain?
Do they yearn to tidetumble?
To whisper with the waves?

Clearly it is past time
to release these unwilling captives
back into the wild.

©Molly Hogan, draft

To see how the other Inklings responded to the challenge, click on the links below:

Linda Mitchell
Margaret Simon
Catherine Flynn
Heidi Mordhorst
MaryLee Hahn

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Linda Baie at her blog, Teacher Dance.

25 thoughts on “PF: The Weight of Stones

  1. I love that you entered the emotional landscape of the trapped stones…a wild thing is never more beautiful than in its natural setting, yes? Thank you! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the word “tidetumble!” It’s new to me. Enjoy your four days in nature. 44F in York this morning. Gas $3.49 in Portsmouth on the Bypass!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. maryleehahn says:

    I’m still swooning…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lindabaie says:

    I have had rocks all over my house, Molly, and just this summer took them all and placed them in my garden. They will only have the washing from my sprinklers and maybe rain, but you wrote so poignantly about their need! I won’t easily bring another home to be lonely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      My grandparents always had vases filled with rocks from Lake Michigan. They brought a little of their Michigan summer home to their NJ home. So, the rocks speak to me in other ways, too. I love that you’ve set yours free to be washed with rain and sprinkler water!


  5. margaretsmn says:

    I love what you did with this prompt and how, like the stones you write about, the idea was tidetumbled into your poem. I love how our community of writers supports and inspires each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. carwilc says:

    I love this!! The idea of things beautiful and free being less beautiful trapped inside gathering dust. And the word “tumbletide.” So perfect! Absolutely gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. heidimordhorst says:

    To sit alongside the forgotten unlovely rocks and feel their longing…you really brought it in this poem. Sometime recently I had the idea that I CAN bring the occasional rock home if I make sure it has an honored place with all the others outdoors–and that such a rockpile could be a nice feature in a rewilded garden. But is it any kinder to the rocks?

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Something to ponder … I didn’t even mention the various bones and skulls and skeletons we have around here. I don’t think I’ll be adding them to the garden though…


  8. Such a touching poem Molly, we all feel for those rocks and their forgotten longings, lovely. You start with this great thirst,
    “The stones gasp
    for water long since evaporated”
    –you capture and keep us all the way through,

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A beautiful testament to rock-life. Just lovely. Thank you, Molly.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Linda Mitchell says:

    I love that the rocks are going to be released back into the wild. I want to go with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Molly! I love your lines:
    Caged in their glass vases
    these forgotten memories
    of far-off places
    gather dust.
    Their vitality fades.

    I actually moved a jar of rocks when we left our house and came to our cabin this summer. Your lines capture the essence of the stones perfectly! I had to do some free writing once on what we saw under our feet – I wrote about stones. I’ll have to dig that poem out and work on it again! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Tabatha says:

    Enjoyed your poem, Molly. I think it is good to move things around so we can “see” their color, shape, and lines again.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. […] Lee Hahn @ A(nother) Year of ReadingMolly Hogan @ Nix the Comfort ZoneLinda Mitchell @ A Word EdgewiseHeidi Mordhorst @ My Juicy Little UniverseMargaret Simon @ […]


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