The man stands pondering
His next move
Turning the dull clunker
Over and over in his hands
Feeling for the bone of it
The marrow at its core
Over and over in his hands
He turns the stone
Listening for the dry chalky sound
Of rough against rough
He holds an eon of coiled energy
Latent In his hands, over and over
His feet draw up
The potent heat of the day from the rocks
Words form in his mouth—
Manipulation, transformation, reverence
Small pebbles of evidence
Are sculpted by his hands, over and over.
Recently I had the privilege of watching Scott Woolsey, an artist who lives in New York’s Catskill region, build a stone cairn on the banks of the Neversink River.
Well done, Melissa. Being a wilderness traveller, I have a special feel for cairns, and their smaller cousins, ducks. I also love tree blazes, especially old ones that mark out pioneer trails. Many a time, I have hiked from cairn to cairn in some remote wilderness, following where they would lead me. Scott has taken what is necessary in pathfinding and turned it into an art form. –Curt
Thanks, Curt. Yes, I suspect that humans have been making cairns for as long as we’ve roamed this earth–communication in its most essential form!
Thank you, Jose.
I enjoyed sensing your experience with the artist, both of you connecting to Mother Earth through sight and touch and sound, but also through that beyond-sense of spirit.
Thanks, Roger. Yes, we spent at least six hours out there on a glorious early spring day, enjoying nature in its most elemental form. It was fascinating to watch Scott feel his way into the project.
Reblogged this on Ripple Poetry and commented:
Loved this focus on the process of creativity. So many memorable lines
“He holds an eon of coiled energy
Latent In his hands, over and over”
Pearl, you’re a sweetheart. Thank you so much for appreciating my work.
Thanks for sharing it.
Melissa this is a lovely poem! The title is perfect and the words that follow elevate it higher. Thanks for this meditative treat 🙂
Parmis, you put your finger on it–it was a real meditation, watching the artist at work. Thanks so much for reading.
Lovely tribute to creativity. I’d like to see more of this man’s work.
Adele, glad you liked it. My profile of the work of the artist Scott Woolsey will appear in the July issue of Dirt magazine. I’ll post a link to it when it comes out. There’ll be lots more photos, including his amazing paintings of the natural world.
Very nice Melissa!
Thanks, Kiki. Happy you liked it.
Seeing this cairn brings back memories of hiking in the White Mountains. He does beautiful work and your poem really does it justice. Both are gorgeous. Xx
We love doing this in Block Island and have spent hours making cairns. Glad to see this.