Émigré Rock

Émigré rock
tell me of your provenance.
How did you come to be in
my suitcase – when once you
graced the ceiling of Norway?

Did I enslave you? Ensnare you? Entice you?
Or did you bewitch me?
Or, is this a quid pro quo?
Your tales of the Dovrefjell
(for those who have learned to listen to stones talk)
in exchange for
safe passage to the
land hosting now
those who once stood
upon you and yours.

Is it your wish to embrace those
long lost pilgrims?
Or is it this pilgrim’s wish to embrace you –
a not so subtle clue, that I too, am a stranger and an alien like you –
émigré rock?


4 thoughts on “Émigré Rock

  1. shoreacres says:

    Does this mean your luggage showed up? I hope so! And it’s nice to know that someone else in the world thinks nothing of toting home rocks as tokens and souvenirs. I hope they were kind to you at customs.

    I like the poem. I think the answer to the question, “Ensnare? Enslave? Entice?” is, “Yes”. You even could throw in “bewitch”, and it would be all right with me.

    Have you read Annie Dillard’s “Teaching A Stone to Talk?” It’s the title of one essay in her book of the same name. It’s a small volume, packed full. Here’s one tidbit from a review in the New York Times.

    The title, ”Teaching a Stone to Talk,” explains something of her method. A man whom she knows, in his 30’s, living alone in a shack on a cliff, keeps a palm-sized oval beach cobble on his shelf and performs a ritual several times a day to try to teach it to talk, which she thinks beats selling shoes.

    She doesn’t know what he expects or wants the stone to say – maybe a single word like ”uncle.” For her, what it eloquently speaks is silence, nature’s silence, which we are here on this earth to witness.

    You’d like the book, I’m sure of it. You could even read it to your stone.

  2. agjorgenson says:

    Thanks for the Dillard quotation! I know the book and love most everything she writes. My line in the brackets was a bit of a nod to the book, playing with the idea that we don’t need to teach stones to talk so much as learn to listen to them, the very point made in the text you cite.

    Yes, my luggage made it, thankfully. I am glad to hear of others who bring along a stone or two. My wife laughs at me because I have a hard time keeping it to a rock or two. On the plus side, my youngest daughter is interested in geology and so I will be able to share my finds with her!

  3. jannatwrites says:

    Beautiful poem! It’s nice when we can take an artifact to remember our travels and keep a piece of the history with us.

  4. agjorgenson says:

    I am glad you enjoyed it so. As for artifacts, I agree; especially when it can be something organic.

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