Breaking News (The Great Stone Face has Collapsed!)
after Frank O’Hara
by Kelley White

The Old Man of the Mountains has collapsed!
I was driving along and suddenly
the radio started squawking and staticking
and you said it was the oldies station
but the oldies don’t hit you on the head
hard so it was really alternative rock and
static and I was in such a hurry
to get you to McDonald’s but the traffic
was acting just like the radio
and suddenly I hear the DJ
there is no radio in the White Mountains
there is no static in New Hampshire
I have seen a lot of mountains and a lot of men
and some of them acted perfectly disgraceful
but they never actually collapsed
oh Great Stone Face we love you get up

Previously published in The Cape Rock

POSTCARD IMAGE: © 2020 Anderson Design Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission. See all of Anderson Design Group’s original art, books and gifts at:


 NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: What could be better to remember as a Landmark we can’t visit this summer than a Landmark that has itself disappeared? Growing up in New Hampshire, the Old Man was a steady presence. I spent one summer in college working with the Forest Service in the White Mountains with the Great Stone Face as a constant backdrop. Then, after millennia, it crumbled away one foggy night. We were supposed to gather on July 10 (on what would have been my mother’s ninety-fifth birthday) to bring her ashes back to New Hampshire, but our trips all had to be cancelled. Perhaps by her hundredth birthday things will be “normal” again.

PHOTO: The author in the 1970s, when the Old Man was still standing. The beloved landmark collapsed on May 3, 2003.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pediatrician Kelley White has worked in inner city Philadelphia and rural New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA. Her recent books are Toxic Environment (Boston Poet Press) and Two Birds in Flame (Beech River Books.) She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.