Riverstone by B. Jones

Così la neve al sol si disigilla;
così al vento ne le foglie levi
si perdea la sentenza di Sibilla.

Dante, The Divine Comedy
Paradiso, XXXIII


The sound of bamboo

The slow sea swell.
The bones of man,

Light from the oil lamp:
Soft grey dawning,
Bird’s song.

The ache of the land
Of the spirit
To be taken.

Coral cavern dreams,
Soft tidal murmurings:

The breath of water.
Of storms,
Of hope.

Taut strings of the soul
Singing sadly
Across the bow.

The architecture of a tear.
Evolution of a sigh.
Music of the breath inhaled.

Soft spun cotton thread
Washed many times
Sliding across my skin.

A lost thought,
A perfect memory,
Braided in time.

I shall love only the which flows,
Changes, grows,
And is invariably lost in the living.

Memory of a bell tolling:
The ocean, a father,
And a song.

Now, before the fire fades,
Let the fire know
What it means to be free of the flesh.

Ocean breeze,
Blue sand,
My window.

A shell turned by the sea
Upon the sand
Spelling out the mysteries.

Poisons of the thorn.
Cloudless blue skies.
Dreams of blood.

Birdsong quiver
In the shudder of last evening’s
Mocking memory.

Fall of leaf,
Of memory,
Of time and falling.

The white rose dissembling
Before me,
Shimmering and true.

The mountain’s incline:
Dreams awakening,
Memories rushing.

Rivers full of flashing fish.
Mind full of thought.
The flow, the river, this is.
Cellular timidities
Of the one nerves embrace of the other
Creating first song.

Time slipping

Becoming as a pearl
Becomes a pearl
Around a grain of hope.

Waiting patiently.
Night hushed around
Distant callings forgotten.

The ship that lingered:

And the same old sun
Always shining,
Dying. Being.

Lives of blood:
Red blades running.
Thin lines opening.

A mouth parting,
Waiting, just waiting,
For the astonished O.

That one hard winter,
Ages it seemed.
What is in a grain of wood?

And this moment
Rising back into song.

Her fingers upon my face:

Sterile haze of dawn
Under the tent
Upon the savannah alone.

Sand at night
Is not the same sand
At first light.

Let me return to the beach
To simplicity, innocence,
To grace.

Sea shells and hermit crabs,
Ever circling gulls with
Distant screaming.

Hurricane turning
In the silence of space
In the timeless gulf.

The center of the storm,
Pulling open all the presents
That are no longer mine.

Opening and opening for me,
Flower after flower,
Pulled apart for me.

This jewel of spiritual fire
In the heart of the lotus…
How are you to be this in me?

Sweet and patiently awaited,
Within those night winds
High ipon the hills of Greece.

Dry clacks of pottery chimes.
There was no wind.
That last night.

But the kiss of the wave: 
Around itself
Like a sigh.

Driftwood bound with rope
Found stranded:
The storm and the ship.

Whispers wrapped
In the warm embrace
Of the sheets.

Those sails torn
To pieces by time:
Voices in the wind.

Like children singing wisdom
To old men who never listen
And lose themselves in lost memories.


“Going back to the boathouse.”

“I guess we ought to be getting back to shore.”

“Late. Let’s head on in.”

“Take us on home.
Back to the pier.”

The last words of my Grandfather.

“Your Gran’s probably waiting.”

On us?
Old Man.

Let’s count all the stars
Burning in the sky:
“Get together.”

O the broken marble column,
Overgrown in the green,
Underneath the ocean.

What ecstasy dissolves the land?
This solution of 

What is left
After rains? After tears?
What dust from memory?

White petal blossom.
Snow covered

The wet warm new and tender…
Erotic embrace:
Liquid definitions.

The crash and storm
And rage 
Of the sea.

Destroyed castles,
Farms and fields,
What must be.

Faded photographs.
Broken boxes.

Time remembered
In letters
Lost between pages.


Bright skull singing
In the howling wind
Through its face.

Divine laughter.
Always, I am.

The Holy Fool
And his time alone
Down by the creek.

In the woods.

Smoke filled woods.
No wind.
Searching slowly.

Moving as the bow upon
The cello’s lowest note,
Melting my bones

Into diamond laughter.

Drawing the circle
In the driveway dust:
The Holy Fool.

See? See?

In the circle in the dust:
The song of a tear:

The silly boy,
Always forgiven,
Pointing at the sky.

Wet fingertips in the woods.
Dirt in the pants.

Families and fortresses,
Constructed out of bones
And wood,

Upon the wall’s fallen side.
Nobody paying attention.

O the song of the sweetest bird
On the sweetest night
Of all its life.

All alone
In the soft gloom
Of the woods.

Oh the Fool! The Holy Fool!
Sings all by himself 
In the shadows of the woods.

See the circle in the sand?
Bright light exploding
From the center?

See the circle in the sand:
Wind blown and weed grown
Over. Forgotten.

The Sacred Circle:
Where we all have danced
And broken.

The Sacred Circle:
Made of sticks and stones
Blown open.

The Sacred Circle:
The Divine Flame within.
The shame.

The fall of the spirit.
The cold lamp.


The Sacred Circle
Drawn in the dust
Of our love.

The Sacred Circle:
Dust and tears and blood,
Bright light


The languid drip of liquid
From the lip.
The need for the erotic.

The feather from the mocking bird.
Smooth skinned shoulder
At dawn.

The hush and whisper and crush
Of the ocean and the land:
The desperation of the surf.

Pools of sweat
On the hardwood of the floors

Smooth shakes of the hands:
Liquid erasures.
The snail and the elephant.

This is so important:
The glistening upon the skin:
The erotic.

The erotic glistening
Upon the edges of the world.

The erotic dribbling, spilling
From the babbling face
Of the Fool.

The erotic building, hesitating
In the mind
Of the Fool.

Oh the Sacred Circle
And the laughter of the Fool.

White semen spilled
On Riverstone.
Rust blood running.

Oh the Sacred Circle
And the laughter of the Fool.

A savior holding in his hand…

Salvation descending 
As a thousand legendary birds
Take flight.

A man and a woman
Pounding rocks together
Trying to make honey.

The broken branch and 
The shining path of the snail

The rock
Polished into stone
In the flow.

Figures dancing with abandon,
Naked in the darkness
Of the woods.

Around the fire,
In, within,
The Sacred Circle.

Dust flying in the flames.
Sighs of liquid
Unfolding against the world.

The hunger of the termite
For the only tree in the world
And having to eat fruit.

The agony, the anguish,
For union,
Dissolution, desiring for Oblivion.

Sweet Oblivion:
Last night’s memories
Already made.

Sweet Oblivion:
Poetry spelled out
In dried tears.

Sweet Oblivion:
The embracing embrace
Of the Intangible.

Oh Sweet Oblivion!
Still sweet after

Oh Sweet Oblivion!
Folding and folding back.
Never completed.

Oh Sweet Oblivion:
In the thin line,
In the desperate embrace.

The question at the final moment:
Was it you or was it me?
Or was it something more?

The careful padding of bare feet
Outside my hut…
Or was that just the surf?

The many turns of the nautilus
Making its way
Within and without.

The many turns of the nautilus
Found that morning
Murmuring upon the beach.

The many turns of the nautilus
I pick up and blow through
To make this mournful sound.

The many turns of the nautilus:
Around which curve
Did that first turn begin?

The Sacred Circle
Lost in time…
Rising through every single thing.

The Sacred Circle
And the Line, brushing,
Each moving,

Through each other,
Merging, contracting,
For a moment,

And then,

The Sacred Circle
And the Line
And the silver shining catch.

The Sacred Circle:
The tragedy of the broken,
The song of the line.

The Sacred Circle 
And the stone,
And the Fool all alone,

Turning in time.

See the circle in the sand?
See the dance?
See the fire and see the light?

That Too Bright Light?

See the circle in the sand?
Around the stranded memory
Drying in the sun.

The breath within the human ear,
Teasings of eternity
Always there.

See the circle in the dust:
Feather and skin.

Would you rather it be so?
Want me to write in blood
And etch my bones

While still alive?

See the circle in the dust
And the broken man
But the Holy Fool.

In the woods and wilderness.
The Fool is laughing
As long as the Sacred Circle 

Stays connected.

By the river and by the stone
Sits the Fool down in the woods
Humming, shifting memories without a care.

Leave the Fool alone.
Let him sing and listen:
From the deeps there is singing:

Ocean Song.

Alone, what do we make?
This happy skull,
Forever grinning?

Feather or skin?


A bleached white bowl
Filled with honey
And Riverstone.

August 1991