The truth is at your feet,
the wet or dry of dirt
beyond concrete and asphalt—
the rock’s slow erosion,
the past that holds you up
and feeds your flesh
before it owns you
with all the tiny worlds
busy sustaining themselves
and one another.

Words skirt around the facts
and eventually evaporate
into a meaningless vapor
we exhale, distilled slogans
casually consumed
as shortcuts to nirvana—
the rhymed and tuned
hackneyed mantras
with which we work
beneath our breath.

Look to the ridgeline
that cuts the sky
that holds the storms
we can’t deny—
to the heavens
where gods and goddesses
decide what’s best—
no better place
to rest your mind
with open eyes.


14 responses to “THE ROCK

  1. I want to thank Donald Trump for inspiration


  2. John I am not poetry kind of gal but I loved this one. thanks for writing and sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Annie, for your comment. I strive for passion (of some kind) in my writing, and hence it has some therapeutic value for me. Because of my upbringing and a life with livestock, I tend to turn to the landscape to ground me, something solid as I feel the need to reaffirm what few truths I know..


  3. John, That poem is a thing of beauty. And it feels like music even read silently to myself. I really love this one. And you and Robin. trish

    P.S. Reading James Baldwin this early am I was once again sad for the loss of quality in most writing and even more sad for the loss of editing. Ideas are so much more potent with both and I am grateful to you for keeping literature alive in a country that values it so little.

    trish o’malley 707 889-1999


    Liked by 1 person

    • A keening for language, perhaps. So glad you like this one, Trish. As I get a little older, I need to get my hooks into something solid, something that might outlast my efforts. Thanks for your kind words.


  4. Words that reach beyond words. The best of what poetry should be. Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Louise. Tricky business to demean the value of words I love, but we have bastardized them so over the years, they can mean most anything if we don’t object. Have a Happy Holidays.


  5. What a lovely poem to round out the month.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful foray into the depth of things. The rhythm of the words takes you there. Yes, there is too much that is shallow.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. i received a note from a friend who told me i needed to read this new one because it was about perfect. she was not wrong. thanks john.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Genius. It needs to be hung.


  9. John, I find my way to your page every once in a while. The last couplet of “The Rock” set me back on my heels, because it describes one of my daily routines. I have spent a lot of time ‘resting my mind’ while staring at the beauty that surrounds us. I feel so insignificant in their towering shadows and it helps me sort out what matters.


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