new zealand electronic poetry centre

Dinah Hawken

online works


The Company of Stones

Stones are heavy and hard and wholly
at our service. I keep wishing
to hold one. Here, behind the glass.
Once a servant offered me a diamond
on a dark red velvet cushion.
I accepted that stone and embarked
on the hardest human task, learning
to be a servant myself,
like the first servant, humble and calm.

We know we can count
on one and one being bound to make two
and two dividing into one and one
but what about three? In a deep body
of water a stone, unfathomable,
is so well beyond our reach.
Yet I am counting on you
while you are counting on me
and we are tripled in the company of stones!

However much we love their density
don't let's be precious about stones.
They keep lying on earth as hosts
to each falling and rising nation.
It is time, 2001, to hold them,
our common sense, our striking lost souls,
and to be absorbed by sounding out
their long, composed, absolute story.
Then to stand. Pronounce their name.

(Written for John Edgar's exhibition at the Dowse during NZ Festival of the Arts 2002)

Dinah Hawken


Last updated 14 December, 2004