Waiting for the rock to sing
by Susan Marsh

I am waiting for the rock to stir
as it has waited to do since
a glacier unceremoniously dumped it
on this lakeshore.
I am waiting for the rock,
cold and unyielding beneath me,
to warm with the faintest trace
of pulse, to tell me stories of
its eons-long sojourn
from pluton to beach sand.

I am drawn to places
that have no reason
to draw me. This table-sized heft
of granite lies far from the trail,
not the best view of the lake
and mountains rising beyond.
I am drawn to the wonder of swans’ wings
cutting through a November sky,
the reflected light of lake water
dancing in the shadows,
the chorus of cliffs in the wind
singing from the mountainside.

Today the sky lacks swans,
the light sits out this dance
and no wind tears music from the cliffs.
This rock has sung its song forever
but I did not know the words.
The miraculous does not wait for me.
Fog peels back like a rind
from the mountain front,
revealing fresh snow,
a skim of ice at the shoreline,
the surface of the lake
besilvered with dawn.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem began as an older draft that I had set aside until a member of my poet’s group mentioned this I Am Waiting anthology and read a poem he was working on. I liked the idea, loved Lawrence’s original poem, and decided to put it to work on my stagnant idea. In this poem, I am attempting to reflect Mr. Ferlinghetti’s struggle between what one sees and is angered by and the wonder of life that we so often forget to notice. Instead of political dilemmas which often do nothing but anger and do not inspire poetry (at least in my case), I am trying to play with a more subtle idea, of expecting the miraculous while participating in it all along.

IMAGE: “Canyon Walls, Yellowstone” by Thomas Moran (1871).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Marsh is an award-winning writer living in Jackson, Wyoming. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including Orion, North American Review, and Fourth Genre, and anthologies such as Solo (Seal Press, 2005), and A Mile in Her Boots (Solas House, 2006). Her books include War Creek (MP Publishing, 2014) and A Hunger for High Country (Oregon State University Press, 2014).