The angry sea threw upon the patient waiting shore
Many silver stones of velvet finish. Each stone
Was unique; each worn from its own niche
By the violent and unruly sea
From a jagged rock to a round smooth surface,
Gently indented in all the unexpected places,
So that at each turn of the stone
A new and unexpected vision is revealed
To the prier of nature’s wonders.
So one might look at a pebble
And when they have stared their fill,
Thinking that this stone appeals to them
They place it carefully in their pocket
In company with various other stones and shells.
When this human has finished his walk
He may show his treasures, especially
This superb example of natures toil
To his companions.
When due compliments had been paid
The stone was carefully wrapped in cotton-wool
And laid in a small box where it was
Unable to breathe; so after some years
It lost the brightness of its superb colours,
And became dowdy. Later, when the stone
Had grown old it became buried in the ground
To become squashed and flattened
Another more unworthy human
Might chance upon the same stone,
And being a wild, unruly person,
Alien to the angry, violent sea,
With no thought to perceive the beauty of the stone
But his only thought being turned upon sport;
He might seize the stone and throw it as far
Into the swirling mass of salt water
As he can.
Thus the stone may not be tossed
Onto the shore for another ten, hundred,
Or ten-hundred years hence.
Never again may it feel the warmth of the sun
On its surface, nor feel the cool surf
Wash gently over it, but only the weight
Of a dark rumbling mass of water
To wear it gradually away until
It no longer exists.
© Sarita Armstrong (first written in prose 1958; put into verse 2014)