Preseli Bluestone

by Lex Runciman


Thick as a thin book,
Sized for a palm, its oval edge beveled
Two nickels tall and by a spun grit wheel
Slicked smooth – wet, its blues go
Almost green.  Scant weight in hand,
It recalls vast water and air

All hurry past me sideways roaring
Under rectangled tonnages of lintels,
Among the sarsens, the upright
And the fallen, resident crows (smart birds)
Flown to refuge.  More than once
I have sought that place, occasion and time
To circle, stop, stand, move on

And walk back, oblivious to others,
Silent, intent to hear what that fixity
Of great stones set deep
Affirms and refuses words to say.
My hand is one brief hand,
Love’s belief balanced durable as breath

That wants to be at once wind
And windblown,
Exuberant, free to stand
Past censure and all wrong-doing –
Sure as a stone in hand,
Claiming and making welcome.




Lex Runciman has published six collections of poems, including Salt Moons: Poems 1981-2016 (Salmon Poetry, 2017). An earlier volume, The Admirations, won the Oregon Book Award. He taught for 25 years at Linfield College.