Mineral Beauty


An exquisite poem about the beauty of the inanimate by the great Barbara A. Holland.

WHEN STONES HAVE SHED THEIR SKINS

by Barbara A. Holland

Who can say there are no souls in stones,
and who can look at Kunzite
and say that they have bodies,
gauze ripped from the garments of the sun,
a plumage shed by luminous
transparent birds, spent splinters of the morning,
mineral and miracle, held at its climax
in a sheath of stone,
gossamer against its ending?

Youth, northern, frangible inside
drops of blue opal as if dawn had bled
its earliest moments, as if clots of sky
concealed in stone, had been preserved
before the daylight killed it;
all the weathers of the world in quartz;
mist depths of white sand shallows in aquamarine
on frost of breath inside a shell of stone
take life from light and strain at carapace
until the day its long endurance breaks
before eternal pressure from within,

Who would be surprised? Not even God
would have expected it!
What must the winds bear up
when stones have hatched:
what wings shall fan
the cold fires of the stars
or beat to warmth the white
heart of the moon
when stones have shed their skins?

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