Sarita Armstrong


The Stone

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

Beyond recognition.



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)